We agree with the text outlined in Section 10.3.1 with respect to The National Transmission/Distribution network.
In order to achieve European and National objectives for a competitive, low carbon, climate-resilient and environmentally sustainable economy by 2050, new energy systems and transmission grids will be necessary for a more distributed, renewables-focused energy generation system, harnessing both the considerable on-shore and off-shore potential from energy sources such as wind, wave and solar and connecting the richest sources of that energy to the major sources of demand.
EirGrid has a significant programme of transmission projects in various stages of development required to facilitate the connection of contracted large-scale renewable projects, which will play a vital role in meeting our targets. However, it is also clear that further large-scale transmission projects will be required to:
1. Facilitate the connection of additional on-shore and off-shore renewable projects; and
2. Connect major sources of demand to renewable energy.
It is our view that demand side management and the electrification of heat and transport coupled with small scale renewables will bring a limited amount of control at a local level. In that context transmission development will continue to be required to facilitate the connection of projects of scale. Similar to other leading countries in terms of renewable penetration, there should be a focus on delivering grid access to the best renewable projects in those locations with the optimum capacity factor. Investment in grid development for a project occurs only once, whereas supporting projects with inferior capacity factors can lead to higher costs to the consumer over the life of a project.
In many cases investment in grid development in remote or rural areas could have a twofold benefit:
1. Providing grid access for the most efficient renewable projects; and
2. Developing grid access to a level suitable for large demand outside of the 5 main cities.