Skip to main content
Home » Future of Energy » The year 2030 is closer than we think: why we must accelerate Ireland’s energy transition

Kevin O’Donovan

Managing Director, Statkraft Ireland

The 2030 goal for the green energy transition can seem like a long way off. However, as the end of the decade looms, reaching our renewable energy targets becomes increasingly urgent.

We are up against the clock to generate 80% of our electricity from renewable sources. While Ireland is undoubtedly on the right path, we must go faster. Statkraft understands the need to accelerate the energy transition and is helping to drive the country towards a carbon-free electricity system. It is developing renewable technologies including onshore and offshore wind, solar, battery storage and grid services.

Leading the charge for green energy transition 

Onshore wind has been the backbone of the country’s decarbonisation journey since the early 1990s when the first wind farm was built. Today, there are nearly 400 wind farms across the island of Ireland — a reflection of the expertise developed over the past three decades.  

Solar power is now a growing part of Ireland’s renewable energy mix. Statkraft is leading the charge on its rollout by building the country’s largest solar farm in Ballymacarney, Co. Meath while constructing several additional solar projects. Other technologies are on the horizon, too. The State’s first offshore auction, ORESS 1, took place in May. Four projects (including the Statkraft-owned NISA wind farm) with a combined capacity of almost 3.1 gigawatts were awarded contracts.  

Grid-scale batteries and synchronous compensators
to store power and stabilise the grid are
necessary to ensure the energy transition.

Robust grid infrastructure 

Grid-scale batteries and synchronous compensators to store power and stabilise the grid are necessary to ensure the energy transition. They allow EirGrid to turn off fossil-fuelled power stations when renewables are supplying Ireland’s electricity demand.  

Meanwhile, the development of green hydrogen could be key for sectors that are difficult to decarbonise and where solutions such as electrification are neither feasible nor cost-effective. We also need more robust grid infrastructure including power lines, underground cables, substations and additional interconnectors to UK and Europe — beyond what is already planned. 

Monumental effort with decision-makers 

We have the technologies, the know-how and natural resources to meet our 2030 goals. However, it will take a monumental effort, not just by the renewable energy industry but by the Government and bodies like An Bord Pleanála, local authorities, EirGrid, the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) and the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications. The end of the decade is closer than we think. Therefore, working together to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy projects is the only way we will reach our destination with time to spare. 

Next article