The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland have set binding electricity targets of 40% from renewable resources by 2020. Wind power will provide the dominant share of this renewable electricity generation. Analysis to date has indicated that, while achievable, these 2020 renewable targets present a real challenge. This change in generation structure has technical and operational implications for the real time management of the power system due to the variable nature of wind generation. These challenges are not likely to be encountered in other larger systems for many years, allowing the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland to lead the way in the integration of renewable generation.
Significant changes in the operation of the power system are required to manage the integration of very high levels of instantaneous wind generation on the island. The areas that need to be addressed are the management of the system frequency, balancing the system in real time, managing system voltage and ensuring the compliance of plant with the Grid Code requirements.
To manage this change EirGrid and SONI have established a programme of work entitled “Delivering a Secure Sustainable Electricity System (DS3)”. This work programme includes enhancing the portfolio performance, developing new operational policies and system tools to efficiently use the plant portfolio to the best of its capabilities, and regularly reviewing the needs of the system as the portfolio capability evolves. Standards for wind farms and conventional plant are also being reviewed to give enhanced operational flexibility for the future.
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