Electricity supply increase plan to go to Cabinet

Climate Minister Eamon Ryan will present to Cabinet tomorrow a proposal to significantly increase Ireland’s electricity supply next year, at a cost possibly in the hundreds of millions of euros.

Under the plan, Eirgrid would buy an additional 450 megawatts of electricity, equivalent to the annual output of a large generating station.

The plan is understood to provide for the purchase of temporary power generators by Eirgrid, the cost of which will be recovered from customers over a three-year period.

However, the plan says the cost to customers would be more than offset by a significant reduction in the Public Service Obligation (PSO) tax.

The PSO has already been reduced to zero, under the National Energy Security Framework announced last April, and will come into force this October.

Under this latest plan, the PSO could turn negative, allowing customers to be reimbursed.

The final decision on the rate will be made by the Public Services Regulatory Commission next month.

Last September, Eirgrid predicted a possible shortfall in Ireland’s electricity for five consecutive winters, partly due to the closure of some peat-fired stations.

During the previous 18 months, there were “eight system alerts” in the system.

The destabilization of energy markets due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine has significantly exacerbated this problem.

It is unclear whether other measures, such as extending the life of the coal-fired Moneypoint generating station, are being actively considered to ensure security of supply.

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