Ireland has an abundance of wind energy. We currently have over 900MW of wind capacity installed with a further 2GW of planning permission granted for new connections. We have no control over when wind energy is produced. To allow deeper penetration of renewables onto the Irish electrical grid, we need demand to follow supply. Demand must decrease when energy is scarce (and therefore expensive) and must increase when energy is freely available (and therefore inexpensive). This concept is called Demand Response or DR for short.
In Ireland, by in large, Electricity is produced in fossil fuel burning generation plants. Electricity is produced to meet demand as and when needed. Electricity is expensive and difficult to store. Many renewable energy sources, and wind energy in particular, are produced when the energy is available rather than when it is needed. If you can’t control the production of electricity then you must have a mechanism for controlling the demand to ensure that the grid remains stable. DR is a growing requirement for electrical grid stability. The need for DR in Ireland is greater than in most other locations in the world because:
- We have abundant wind energy resources but are unable to connect them to the national grid because of grid instability.
- We are a small network with limited interconnection to other grids.
- We are currently going through a period of deregulation in our electricity industry.
- Ireland is unlikely to adopt a nuclear energy programme in the near future.
This blog was started in May 2007 to publicise the market opportunity for an DR in Ireland. The commercial plan behind the blog is to develop a three part technology to implement DR in Ireland. These parts are:-
- An Internet based Web service, called the ‘Synergy Service’ to publish grid control information.
- An appliance called a ‘Synergy Module’ is in development to interact with the Synergy Service to manage embedded generation and consumption equipment at a particular customer site.
- A web based application called ‘Synergy Data’ that will enables electricity consumers analyse and manage their electricity consumption.