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2. ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY
Due to a lack of indigenous fossil energy resources, Ireland’s energy supply constantly teeters on the brink of political, geopolitical, and geographical unease. The potential risk to the security of the energy supply combined with the contribution of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions to climate change gives a clear indication of Ireland's need to reduce dependency on imported fossil fuels as primary energy source. A feasibility analysis to investigate the available renewable energy options was conducted using HOMER software. The Net Present Cost, the Cost of Energy, and the CO2 emissions of each potential energy combination were considered in determining the most suitable renewable and non-renewable hybrid energy system. Wind energy was shown to have the greatest potential for renewable energy generation in Ireland: wind energy was a component of the majority of the optimal hybrid systems both in stand- alone and grid-connected systems. In 2010 the contribution of wind energy to gross electricity consumption in Ireland approximated 10%, and the results of this feasibility study indicate that there is great potential for wind-generated energy production in Ireland. Due to the inherent variability of wind energy the grid-connected system results are particularly relevant, which show that in more than half of the analyses investigating electrical energy demand the incorporation of wind energy offset the CO2 emissions of the non-renewable elements to such a degree that the whole system had negative CO2 emissions, which has serious implications for Kyoto Protocol emissions limits. Ireland also has significant potential for hydropower generation despite only accounting for 2% of the gross electricity consumption in 2010. Wind and hydroenergy should therefore be thoroughly explored to secure an indigenous primary energy source in Ireland.
Goodbody, C.,Walsh, E., McDonnell, K., Owende,P.: Regional integration of renewable energy systems in Ireland:the role of hybrid energy systems for small communities. International Journal of Electrical Power & Energy Systems, vol. 44, Issue 1, January 2013, p.s 713-720, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijepes.2012.08.012.