hybrid connections renewables Ireland

Ireland’s failure to implement policies that facilitate so-called hybrid connections places unnecessary costs and delays on renewable providers. This warning comes from the Irish Solar Energy Association (ISEA) who want new policies to be expedited so they are implemented as soon as possible to help achieve the ambitious targets of the latest Climate Action Plan.

A hybrid connection is where more than one source of energy or storage is connected to the national grid on a single site. These are currently not permitted in Ireland, meaning that in sites where solar and storage or solar and wind are present together, there is a need for two separate connections. Each grid connection requires the construction of physical infrastructure with the associated costs, planning requirements and time.

While consultations are taking place in regard to increasing the over install limit of connection capacities and an additional consultation is expected to take place in regards to multiple legal entities behind connection points, there is a third, and more important topic, the dynamic sharing of MECs, that needs to be addressed urgently if we are to capitalise on the benefits of updating these policies for consumers and renewable providers.

Speaking about the need for new policies in this area ISEA CEO Conall Bolger said “We have been talking about hybrid sites for nearly a decade, with no output evident aside from on-going consultation processes. We have examples of locations that have two buildings side by side performing duplicate functions. This is extremely wasteful, increases the cost to energy providers and ultimately to consumers.

“There has been a general recognition amongst policymakers that change is required for several years.” But according to Bolger there has been very little action. “The 2019 Climate Action Plan committed to putting the right policies in place by Q3 2020. The latest iteration of Climate Action Plan now makes that same commitment but for Q4 2023. Despite an unexplained 39-month delay, the industry isn’t overly confident that we will see much movement this year.”

ISEA now want the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) to make a decision. “It feels as if the regulator isn’t focused on the big picture in relation to what needs to be done to expedite the updating of these dated policies with their lack of attention on the dynamic sharing of the maximum export capacity (MEC) by technologies behind the same connection an example of this. If adopted, this will allow for greater flexibility and variety in what can be achieved at hybrid connection points. We need to radically accelerate our deployment of renewables and hybrid connections will help keep costs for consumers lower and ensure faster implementation.

“If we were to place a solar farm on every renewable site already connected to the grid, we could ramp up our delivery of green power while minimising the construction of new network. Everyone knows what is required, so let us put that in place now, and not wait until the end of the year.”

Concluding Conall Bolger, CEO of ISEA said “We are in a climate crisis, everyone agrees that renewables are one of the most important solutions. We need the triumvirate of solar, storage and wind working together to combat Ireland’s reliance on fossil fuels. Allowing hybrid connections facilitates this in an efficient manner.”

By Jim O Brien/CEO

CEO and expert in transport and Mobile tech. A fan 20 years, mobile consultant, Nokia Mobile expert, Former Nokia/Microsoft VIP,Multiple forum tech supporter with worldwide top ranking,Working in the background on mobile technology, Weekly radio show, Featured on the RTE consumer show, Cavan TV and on TRT WORLD. Award winning Technology reviewer and blogger. Security and logisitcs Professional.

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