Grid issues in Ireland


Updated: 08.01.2019

Author: Georgios Maroulis

Summary of grid issues

Connection to the grid

Under the Group Processing Approach (GPA) connection capacity has been reserved for renewable generation, including enough to specifically meet the 40% RES-E target in the context of the overall target addressed to Ireland under Directive 2009/28/EC. To date, there have been three ‘Gates.’ Gate 1 was finalised in December 2004 and processed applications amounting to 373 MW of renewable capacity. Gate 2 processed applications amounting up to 1,300 MW and in 2008 the Commission for Energy Regulation approved Gate 3, which provides for 3,900 MW of new additional renewable generation. In addition, certain providers of system services under the DS3 Programme will be eligible and prioritised for a connection offer under the non-GPA process, until the enduring connection policy in line with the provisions of the new RES support scheme is in place. The DS3 programme is a multi-annual programme by EirGrid which envisages to ensure that the power system can be operated with increasing amounts of variable non-synchronous renewable generation over the coming years. Furthermore, eligible projects wishing to terminate their connection agreement and release their full or partial contracted capacity under a given gate may submit a formal application to the system operator.

There is also a policy that aims to facilitate renewables by providing for grid connections outside the gate process for certain small, renewable, low carbon generators.

As of 2018, a new connection procedure is put into place. According to CER/18/058, the Enduring Connection Policy (ECP-1) concerns all new applicants for a grid connection. New connection offers will be distributed in batches. For 2018, at least 1,000MW of new connection offers will be offered (2.1 CER/18/158).

Use of the grid

Under S.I. 147/2011 the transmission system operator and distribution system operator shall ensure that electricity generated from renewable sources is transmitted and distributed. Moreover, electricity from renewable sources shall be given priority dispatch unless this poses a risk to the security and stability of the grid. 

Grid development

The grid operators are generally obliged to operate and develop the grids in accordance with the applicable legislation. The base transmission network is planned and controlled by the TSO. The costs of the base transmission and distribution network are recovered through tariffs imposed on the use of both the transmission and distribution system, by all users including generators.

Statutory provisions

  • ERA (Electricity Regulation Act 1999) last amended by S.I. 630/2011 European Communities (Internal Market in Natural Gas and Electricity) Regulations 2011.  
  • S.I. 445/2000 (European Communities (Internal Market in Electricity) Regulations, 2000)
  • S.I. 147/2011 (European Communities (Renewable Energy) Regulations, 2011)
  • CER/04/381 (Direction on Resuming Connection Offers to Wind Generators)
  • CER/05/049 (Group Processing Approach for Renewable Generator Connection Applications. Connection and Pricing Rules. Direction to System Operators)
  • CER/08/260 (Criteria for Gate 3 Renewable Generators Offers & Related Matters. Direction to the System Operators)
  • CER/09/099 (Treatment of Small, Renewable and Low Carbon Generators outside the Group Processing Approach)
  • CER/09/192 - Direction on Detail for Allocating Scheduled Firm Access in Gate 3 ITC Programme
  • SEMC/03/10-  Treatment of Curtailment in Tie-break situations
  • CER/16/284 – Connection Policy on Transitional Arrangements
  • CER/17/090/ - Connection Policy Transitional Arrangements Partial Capacity Release
  • CER 18/158 Enduring Connection Policy Stage 1 (ECP-1) Decision
  • CER 18/158 Enduring Connection Policy Stage 1 (ECP-1) Annex I


Further information

  • Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (DCENR)
  • +353 167 82 000
  • DCENR website
  • Revenue Commissioners (Revenue): Irish Tax and Customs
  • +353 1 702 3011
  • Revenue website