The latest cost-benefit analysis of wind energy in Ireland has confirmed it is not just driving down Ireland’s CO2 emissions but is delivering great value for the Irish electricity consumer.

The report, Wind for a Euro: Cost-benefit analysis of wind energy in Ireland 2000-2020, from leading energy and utilities consultants Baringa, reveals that the net cost of wind energy for Irish consumers amounts to less than €1 per person per year since 2000.

Using advanced modelling techniques Baringa analysed Ireland’s electricity market from 2000 to 2020 and then simulated how the market would have behaved without any wind energy on the system. This is the first time researchers have used historical data to carry out a cost-benefit analysis of wind energy.

Researchers found that over the last two decades wind energy has delivered €2.3 billion in savings on the wholesale electricity market, driving down prices for consumers, and outweighing the amount of funding provided to support wind energy through the PSO levy.

Aside from the financial costs and benefits, the authors calculate that the deployment of wind generation in Ireland avoids:

  • 33 million tonnes of power sector CO2 emissions. The total carbon emissions from electricity generation in 2017 was 11.7 Mt, so a saving of 33 Mt is equivalent to almost 3 years of total carbon emissions in the electricity sector today.
  • 137 TWh of fossil fuel consumption at a saving of €2.7bn. In comparison, Ireland consumed 44 TWh (3814 ktoe) of fossil fuels for electricity generation in 20172, so a saving of 137 TWh is equivalent to 3 years of current fossil fuel consumption for electricity generation.

The report Wind for a Euro: Cost-benefit analysis of wind energy in Ireland 2000-2020 was commissioned by the Irish Wind Energy Association.