WEST OF FIFTH July 8, 2019 13:20:58The electricity sector is in a worst-case scenario for a return to life following the collapse of Irish Gas’s network of power stations.
The company, which was forced to close down its network of 14 stations in the wake of a €2.5 billion power outage, is facing a number of challenges in securing electricity supplies from Ireland’s power grid.
In the wake.of the power disruption, it has struggled to find the capacity to restart the power sector.
A report by the Independent Electricity Authority (IEA) and a study by the Irish Independent has highlighted the fact that a significant portion of Irish power generation is currently supplied by gas.
In this latest report, the Independent Energy Authority said it had seen “no evidence” that Irish Gas would be able to supply enough gas to maintain the power system in the absence of a power supply.
In a statement to The Irish News, an IEA spokesperson said the utility has been working to find “a solution that would allow the power generation industry to operate at full capacity and be able restore power to all customers” and has been in discussions with the company’s senior management.
However, he added, the utility remains “deeply concerned” about the viability of the gas generation market.IEA chief executive Mike McCormack said: “This is an extremely challenging situation, and it is going to be very difficult for the utility to find a solution to this.
We’re still very far away from finding a solution.”
Irish Gas has been providing the electricity sector with reliable power since 1919.
We continue to do so, but with the uncertainty of the situation, we are working very hard to find an alternative source of power.
“In a recent report, The Independent Energy Agency (IEEA) said Irish Gas was facing a “significant and growing” threat of power supply failures, particularly for its coal and gas generators.IEEa said the threat posed by the sudden shutdown of power transmission lines, as well as the inability of Irish Power to supply gas to other parts of the grid, posed a “very real risk” to the supply of power to the Irish electricity market.
The IEEA report said the sector’s total electricity demand was “at an all-time high” and it was estimated that there were “at least six significant power supply problems” that were causing a “serious and significant threat to the viability” of the Irish power system.
In particular, it said there was a “grave threat” to electricity supply from the “toxic fumes” from diesel fuel burning.
The report said “a large number of diesel generators were not working”.
It added that while there was no data on the number of gas generators operating in Ireland, the gas sector “was in a very bad situation” and there were no other reliable sources of power available.IEEE said that while Irish Gas had “no immediate plans to restart its gas-fired generation or any of its existing gas-generating capacity, the company is working to address the issues identified by the IEEI”.
However, it added that the utility would “seek to restore the power grid” as soon as it was able.
The Irish Independent reported last month that Irish Electricity Minister, James Reilly, said there is “no guarantee” that gas will be able or will be available to restart Irish Gas.
In February, the IEA said Irish Energy was in a “strong position” to restart power supplies.
The electricity authority said in its statement to the media that it has “the utmost confidence” in Irish Energy, and that the company was “in full control of its network”.
However in a statement released to the press on Monday, Irish Energy said that it is “in the process of evaluating” a potential “resumption of gas production from Ireland, with a view to an early conclusion in 2019”.