The development of renewable energy, including both offshore and onshore wind, is central to our energy policy.
How wind energy is created
The sun heats the earth unevenly and this creates thermal air currents. In order to achieve equal temperatures around the earth, these air pockets move about as global wind. The energy that travels in the wind can be captured and converted to provide electricity.
Clean and sustainable energy
Wind energy provides a clean, sustainable solution to our energy problems. It can be used as an alternative to fossil fuels in generating electricity, without the direct emission of greenhouse gases. And there will always be wind; it is inexhaustible and renewable.
Wind energy in Ireland
Wind energy is currently the largest contributing resource of renewable energy in Ireland. It is both Ireland’s largest and cheapest renewable electricity resource. In 2016 Wind provided 85% of Ireland’s renewable electricity and 20.9% of our total electricity demand. It is the second greatest source of electricity generation in Ireland after natural gas. Ireland is one of the leading countries in its use of wind energy, moving up to 3rd place worldwide in 2015, after Denmark and Portugal.
Statistics on Irish wind energy use
Statistics on wind energy can be found in SEAI’s Energy in Ireland and Renewable Energy in Ireland reports. A detailed annual update on the status of wind energy in Ireland and globally can be found in the IEA Wind Annual report.
Wind farms in Ireland
The Department of Housing Planning and Local Government (DHPLG) provides planning guidelines and planning exemptions for wind farms and wind turbines. The planning guidelines are being revised. Wind farm design, planning and environmental specialists will help prepare a planning application for large wind turbines. Details of these can be found on the IWEA website.
SEAI has published guides for connecting large and small wind turbines to the electricity system. ESB Networks and Eirgrid provide application forms to apply to connect new wind turbines or wind farms to the electricity network. An electrical engineer will be needed to complete applications to connect large wind turbines.
The primary support for wind energy is the Renewable Energy Feed in Tariff (REFIT). This scheme guarantees a price for wind energy output for fifteen years. This scheme is now closed for applications and the Department of Communications Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) is developing a new scheme.
SEAI supports for wind energy research
SEAI supports national wind energy research through its RD&D programme. View details of funded projects and applications for new projects in our RD&D Past Projects section.
- IEA wind energy website: A useful resource for information on research, development and deployment of wind energy systems.
- SEAI's Wind energy mapping system: Provides some further information on Ireland's wind energy potential. The wind atlas may be used for making an initial check on whether or not a site has a high enough speed for a wind energy project.
- DCCAE: Department of Communication, Climate Change, and Environment's website has information on the future role for wind energy in Ireland.