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Would renewables ever provide Dublin's energy

  • 15-10-2022 9:51pm
    Registered Users Posts: 507 ✭✭✭

    Going forward, could renewables be used better to meet Dublin's energy requirements?

    How could this be done?

    Wind farms up the Dublin mountains?

    Would off shore wind be an option?

    Would we still need fossil fuels?



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,132 ✭✭✭con747

    At some stage between Wind, Solar, Hydro and battery storage in my opinion we could be fairly energy independent as an island in the future if the powers that be had a clue.

    Don't expect anything from life, just be grateful to be alive.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,955 ✭✭✭the_amazing_raisin

    Interestingly, Greece was recently powered from 100% renewables for something like 5 hours. They've a much bigger population density than us. So even with more sunshine their energy demands would be higher

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,001 ✭✭✭Padre_Pio

    To be fully reliable on renewables requires masses of energy storage.

    Hydro is the most reliable renewable storage. I think we should build dams in some bays on the west coast and use our excess wind to run pumps.

    Utility level batteries aren't there yet.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,001 ✭✭✭Padre_Pio

    We do it often enough on windy nights (70% today) but there are far more periods where <10% of Ireland is powered by renewables and fossil fuels provide the rest

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,130 ✭✭✭DC999

    Great thread @tv3tg4. Most of the threads here (including nearly all my own) focus on our own homes that have solar / renewables. So very much at the micro level. And miss the macro / larger picture you're raised here!

    @bullit_dodger cheers for those 2 good links. I'll read more about them. Sounds a bit like 'full employment' in any country. It can never reach 100% but translates to 'as much as is possible'. So seems the same with grid limitations (even if there was unlimited renewables) that it's 100% of what is possible from renewables for the grid to still function. Which is still very much a huge benefit environmentally of course.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,025 ✭✭✭kabakuyu

    It will never be 100% with renewables but we may hit it with sustainable energy now that the EU have designated investment in certain Nuclear and gas as sustainable, who knows coal and oil could be next.Even Greta T is coming round to nuclear in certain circumstances.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,001 ✭✭✭Padre_Pio

    Crisis events always cause government to act. One of the few benefits of the Russian invasion is a massive push towards energy self sufficiency.

    Domestic solar is doubling year on year in Ireland.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,025 ✭✭✭kabakuyu

    From a very low base, government policy on solar is painfully slow, look at the planning and FIT debacles and we still have VAT on renewable materials.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,001 ✭✭✭Padre_Pio

    FIT is pretty good compared to other countries. Planning has been relaxed. Things are going in the right direction. Relaxing VAT would be a huge bonus.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,132 ✭✭✭con747

    FIT pricing is good from the suppliers, the actual implementation of it is a clusterfcuk with the wording on most of their T&C's unclear and payment dates as far away as March 23 if they go through.

    Post edited by con747 on

    Don't expect anything from life, just be grateful to be alive.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,224 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger

    I like Greta for the most part. Done a lot of good that kid.

    Yeah, science is pretty clear on the number of deaths relating to various electricity generation. Nuclear, despite the various negative media naysayers (who simply don't understand things IMHO) is actually less likely to kill you than coal/oil.

    Ref: Nuclear Energy - Our World in Data

    Sure when things go wrong (Three mile island, Chernobyl, Fukashima), it's a mess to sort out, but plant design today is a totally different beast to plant design of the 50's and 60's. The way they are inherently safe from the get go without pumps for cooling etc means that the safety is like 100x times what it was (which was actually pretty high already)

    Not installing one on a geological "fault line" helps too!

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,081 ✭✭✭✭cnocbui

    Absolutely they could, but none of it will be in sight of Dublin, that's for culchies.

    The slight snag is the monumental and near unbelievable amount of money that will be required, despite there being cheaper zero CO2 options the government has specifically ruled out and legislated against.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,171 ✭✭✭CalamariFritti

    A buddy in the ESB told me that on a day with decent wind we can cover 100% of the country's electric energy demands. Even have oversupply. The problem is lack of storage technology while there is an oversupply. To store electricity to cover periods when there isn't decent wind.

    Sounds like we've come a long way already but storage is a problem.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,955 ✭✭✭the_amazing_raisin

    I'm sure they said the same thing in the design phase of those older plants 😉

    I definitely agree that the older plants should be kept running as long as it's safe to do so. I think the main issue with a lot of the German ones is they need to be refueled, which is a fairly delicate process

    Also I read somewhere that Russia is the main supplier of uranium to Europe, so still a bit of fuel dependency on the big bad imperialists

    My main concern with nuclear is around building new plants. It seems like a total waste of money and resources

    Consider Flamanville unit 3, 15 years under construction, 5x over budget and not one usable watt of electricity generated

    How many solar farms and wind turbines could have been installed with that money (€12.7 billion to date)? How much closer to 100% truly green energy could France be if they had spent the money elsewhere?

    And consider that France is very pro nuclear and has a lot of expertise in that area. Other countries find it a lot harder and more expensive to build nuclear power

    So for me, nuclear is on life support, it just can't compete financially with wind and solar, which are both cheaper and quicker to bring online and easier to maintain

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,081 ✭✭✭✭cnocbui

    There was a six week long near windless period last year.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,171 ✭✭✭CalamariFritti

    Yup there's that. Periods for which you simply cannot have enough storage even if we had storage. :)

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,896 ✭✭✭tom1ie

    You have to have fossil fuel backup for when the wind doesn’t blow and it’s a cloudy day or nighttime.

    For example we regularly get high pressure weather systems off the west coast in winter that give us very calm days with very low solar output.

    Turlough hill is out largest hydro staorage facility that would keep the lights on for about 30 mins at full output.

    So to answer the question- No we can’t power dublin on renewables alone at the moment.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,224 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger

    And yet for all the things your say about the cost in construction of Nuclear plants (which I agree's a MASSIVE cost mate) France historically has a cheaper price of Electricity compared to say Germany, which is always seen as a pro-renewables country with high adoption of solar etc. That doesn't seem right does it, but it's true. I don't know if there's some "funny business" going on there in terms of subsidies, but the numbers are here.

    Electricity price statistics - Statistics Explained (

    If I'm honest , I was pretty negative about nuclear 20 years ago. Part of this is a throw back to the psychology of growing up in the 80's where we had organizations such as Greenpeace dominating the news. Putting their small ships in front of larger ships transferring fuel rods, or people blocking trains transporting waste. Then there was the cold war at it's height and the doom-gloom of nuclear war which tainted my opinion of using nuclear as a source of electricity.

    Then landscape has changed with the realization that climate change is a WAY bigger problem than nuclear so I've reversed my original thinking on it. Solar/wind/hydro all great and should be used, but the sad realities is that they can't do everything. New nuclear, small modular reactors, thorium as a fuel source, molten salts as coolant, etc these are new ideas/methodolgies paving the way forward. Waste, while always contentious, is a lot smaller and easier to deal with than 50+ billion tons of CO2 that we spurn out from coal/gas.

    To go back to the OP though, people are saying that we could do it, but not in sight of Dublin. Well, plans would beg to differ on that......

    Home Page - Dublin Array

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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,665 ✭✭✭Furze99

    Not sure about the Dublin Hills but there should definitely be wind farms in Dublin Bay and environs. And there were/ are plans. Who's stopping them - some of the better heeled residents who like the idea of renewables in theory but don't care for having to make compromises for their expensive sea views.

    I haven't kept up with official Green Party views on these, but wouldn't be shocked if they were opposed. As some of their membership & voters would be.

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,081 ✭✭✭✭cnocbui

    The most recently completed NPP was built by the South Koreans in the UAE - the Barakah NPP. It took 8 years from construction start to commissioning of the first reactor. Per GW, it cost half as much as offshore wind, allowing for the capacity factor difference of about 50%. Given it will last twice as long as an offshore wind farm, the likely real cost difference is probably quadruple, but it's very difficult to know for sure because we don't know what vast scale energy storage will actually cost, as no country has managed to do it, in order to make renewables comparable to a hugely reliable baseload source like nuclear.

    The current long term plan by the ESB calls for a staggering 30 GW of offshore wind by 2050. To provide 15 GW of nuclear power would likely cost around €54 Billion less. OSW has a capacity factor of 40-50% while a South Korean NPP has a capacity factor of 96%, so you only need half as much for the same amount of energy generated.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,130 ✭✭✭DC999

    Interesting and only something I know at a high-level. Would the scale of turbines (larger giving more output, which is essentially an engineering challenge) expect to push OSW a lot past 40-50% efficiency? Or would it be incremental?

    In the UK at least it's about 5 years from consultation to power hitting the grid for a new OSW farm. The application part / green light seems to be large bottle next speed wise.

    Nuclear has a forever element though afaik for the storage of the old fuel. So while it might stay 'in-life' for 20+ more years, that's nothing in terms of 'forever' to store the fuel when decommisioned.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,224 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger

    That's one the thing with nuclear which I believe can change. Current fuels like Uranium have a massive half-life, while new reactors currently under development are looking at fuels such as Thorium. This has a MUCH shorter half life, meaning that the waste fuels are "only" radioactive for mere 100's of years. Yeah, that sounds odd, 100's of years is still a long time but its a lot easier to plan for something in the 100's of years than 10,000's.

    This is existing tech. Not some fusion based thing which I believe we will get to, but we're 30 years off.

    But to the OP, I think if we can get to regularly getting 80% of Dublins energy from renewables - that's a good target.

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,081 ✭✭✭✭cnocbui

    !0 Irish people just died in a gas explosion in Donegal. Do you know of anyone who has died because of nuclear waste? No one has really dealt with nuclear waste in over half a century, it just seems to hang around being put on the long finger. One reason for that is that it clearly isn't as much of a problem as is made out, so there is a lack of motive.

    I think the waste problem is readily solvable

    The only way to get OSW efficiency up is to go much further off the coast, in deeper water, necessitating floating turbines. Such a windfarm has been built off Scotland, called Hywind which delivers an impressive gain to give it a 57% capacity factor. The trouble is the cost.

    The SOA Norwegian Hywind Tampen floating offshore wind project will have a capacity of 88 MW but will cost €552m. That's €6.3 billion per GW. The Barakah NPP cost €4.7 Billion per GW. If HT has the same 57% capacity factor as the original Hywind, then a more realistic costing compared to nuclear would be about €10.6 Billion per GW, but that's a crude cost comparison that doesn't include the cost of an energy storage system needed to make them more realistically comparable.

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 17,888 Mod ✭✭✭✭slave1

    You seem to forget Windscale

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,081 ✭✭✭✭cnocbui

  • Moderators, Education Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators Posts: 7,826 Mod ✭✭✭✭Jonathan

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,001 ✭✭✭Padre_Pio

    In terms of deaths from nuclear, more people die from radiotherapy than power plant radiation.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,224 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger

    I know it was tongue-n-cheek, but they are actually both fair points. Though you can drag out lots of "singular events" to try and prove/disprove viewpoints. It doesn't really work.

    I think the main thing it to be open to new thinking. I was pretty against nuclear as I mentioned, but on the whole, it's probably safer for me (and maybe cheaper) than some other forms of generation. It's a bit old now (10 years), but this formed the basis of much of the knowledge I gathered about energy creation etc.

    David MacKay FRS: : Contents (

    It's a "free book" on the web and while it's a little dated, I'd recommend it as it outlines why nuclear isn't as bad as you originally though. If you read it and come away, well that was a pile of horseshit, fair enough.....but at least your "having a think" :-)


    We made the mistake of lumping nuclear energy in with nuclear weapons, as if all things nuclear were evil. I think that’s as big a mistake as if you lumped nuclear medicine in with nuclear weapons.

    Patrick Moore,

    former Director of Greenpeace International