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Wind power provided 34% of Ireland's electricity this year

Demand for wind power tripled in July compared with the same month last year.

Wind power has provided 34% of Ireland's energy so far this year on the back of record figures in recent months, a new report has revealed.

The latest figures from Wind Ireland show it generated 21% of the country's electricity last month.

Demand for wind power tripled in July compared with the same month last year.

Noel Cunniffe, chief executive of Wind Ireland, said the figures showed the company had played a "critical" role in protecting customers from rising energy prices, even in months when wind output was low.

"While July's figure is lower than in previous months, it is in line with seasonal expectations," he said.

"It is heartening to see that in July this year wind met twice as much electricity demand as in July 2021, which is a significant increase," he said.

"The data also shows that even in the months of declining production, wind continues to play a key role in protecting customers from the worst effects of fossil fuel-driven wholesale electricity price increases."

Cunniffe said that while wholesale electricity prices had risen sharply in the past month due to high fossil fuel costs, there was still a difference of almost 40 euros in costs per megawatt hour on the windiest and least windy days - 256.66 and 295.58 respectively - despite low levels of wind generation.

The average price per megawatt-hour per month is 267.19 euros.

Last week, the Irish government announced that its offshore wind power target would be increased from 5 gigawatts to 7 gigawatts a year by 2030 to meet climate change targets.

Cunniffe welcomed the increased target, but warned that the planning system needed urgent reform to ensure rapid construction of projects.

"Our members have a pipeline of projects that is well over 7 gigawatts. We have enough investment, skills and expertise to respond to the government's call to action."

"However, to meet these targets, our planning system must be reformed immediately and properly resourced to ensure that the renewable energy projects needed to reduce carbon emissions and lower electricity bills can be built as quickly as possible."

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