First things first one of the buzz words we hear about energy now is the need for conservation of energy. This is indeed what we do need to do. But we are Irish and seem to lack the ability to take responsibility for anything whether it be curbing road deaths or alcohol. What we want is the government to do what Homer Simpson promised the residents of
So we need to move away from normal light bulbs to more efficient sources of light. But people will not do this even though they will save more money about €10 euro pre bulb in the year. So what do we do? We already came up with the answer. Like the plastic bags we tax them. We put a tax/levy on incandescent light bulbs force people to buy more efficient light bulbs. Also we invest in more innovation in LED’s. (Full Disclosure. This is kind of my field) They are the lights of the future not only will they help reduce our electricity requirements but also as they conquer the world if Ireland can become an innovator in the field we will gain a portion of the $40 billion world market for light bulbs. It is predicted that if all the traffic light bulbs in
So how do deal the other 90% of household electrical use. Much of that electricity is not actually used. A TV on standby uses about 50% of the power of when it is on. Considering that people use the TV for maybe 3 out 24 hours. TV’s consume about 3% of the houses electrical use yet only about 1/3 of that is watched. Thus turning off could reduce TV demand by 2/3 and 0.6% of
Now while electrical conservation might well save electricity, maybe even as much as 10% it still not going to solve our problems. One way is to increase every person’s electrical production. For instance if someone installs a normal photovoltaic solar panel on their roof this could supply a third of their needs. If this was made so that investing in solar panels can be claimed against stamp duty or income tax. Then it could supply 10% of the electrical need in the state. This could be done in the form of grants for installing panels. But this requires some altering of the grid. As the solar power can be variable although not as variable as the wind. Some times people are generating more then they need. Thus when this happens then the grid has to take the extra electricity. Causing their electrical meter to go backwards. This also has the advantage that it is cheap for the state as much of the capital cost burden is being taken by private individuals. And advantageous to the consumer as they reduce their electrical bill.
Wind energy in
But how much can wind actually give us. The Arklow bank wind farm is going to be the largest wind farm in the World when completed and will supply 10% of
Much of the loss in electrical energy occurs in transmission. But because wind generation can be spread around the country this effect is lowering the loses. To make wind more economical viable would also require the placing of interconnectors to
One of the most obvious methods for generating electricity is by burning stuff. New technologies like “Clean Coal” have potential as coal supplies are predicted to last around 300 years ( they also emit less CO2 but I am not 100% convinced by global warming) However we in
One of the great things about the above sources is their security. Oil and gas can be dependant on the world’s markets where if
All the above measures would have a large capital cost. But once built they are either pretty much free or funding Irish farmers thus cuting the Balance of Payments deficit. Also they increase our competitiveness as we can guarantee industry low price fluctuation in the price of electricty. Also it elongates the lifetime of gas and oil. Over a long enough time scale say 20 years they will have already paid for themselves. (Comparison of energy costs) No one knows what state the world will be in 20 years time. We need to secure our energy needs now. But one way to lessen the cost is to open up the market to competition. If you try to do this by the state it will struggle to do this. But if you open up the market allow anyone to enter the market be it Airtricty or a small farmer that has a spare corner of a field to throw up a wind mill the national grid should allow for. The ESB are in the process of separating the grid from the generation system. This is needed to allow competition in the market place to flourish and increase the use of renewable. While the costs are high they are new and likely to fall due the economies of scale industry will be able to make in producing such things as solar panels and wind turbines.
When speaking about
I have a number of sources for this post but lost many of them. Anyway. here is an excellent study by UCC THE IMPACTS OF INCREASED LEVELS OF WIND PENETRATION ON THE ELECTRICITY SYSTEMS OF THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND AND NORTHERN IRELAND
ESB Impact of Wind Power Generation In Ireland on the Operation of Conventional Plant
and the Economic Implications