Varadkar: Government ‘doing everything’ it can to avoid blackouts this winter

Leo Varadkar said the Government is seeking additional generation capacity and looking at plan to reduce demand during peak times.
Varadkar: Government ‘doing everything’ it can to avoid blackouts this winter

By Cate McCurry, PA

The Tánaiste said the Government is “doing everything” it can to avoid blackouts this winter, after an amber alert was issued for the second day in a row.

Leo Varadkar said the Government is seeking additional generation capacity and looking at a plan to reduce demand during peak times.

The Single Electricity Market Operator, EirGrid, issued an amber alert on Wednesday morning, stating it was due to a “generation shortfall in Ireland”.

The alert is issued when there is a threat to the supply of electricity.

In a bid to play down concerns over energy blackouts this winter, Mr Varadkar said there was a plan in place.

“I want to assure people that the government is doing everything we can to make sure that we don’t face brownouts or blackouts this winter,” he said.

“We managed to avoid that happening last winter. We want to make sure that we avoid that happening this winter as well.

“That does mean two things, it means increased generation capacity and that is on order. And also in some cases trying to reduce demand, particularly at peak times.

“There are different ways that we can do that. We have a plan in place to make sure that we don’t face blackouts this winter.

“It’s important to say that an amber alert is not a red alert. An amber alert means that we had sufficient electricity, but just not as much headroom as we would like if a power plant had gone out unexpectedly.

“So an amber alert is not a red alert. We’ve yet to have a red alert in Ireland thankfully. We are having a lot of amber alerts and we’re not complacent about it in any way.

“That’s why we have that additional capacity on order and it’s also why we’re looking at a mechanism that we can use to reduce demand, particularly those peak times when energy demand is very high.”

In a statement, EirGrid said: “The electricity system is experiencing tight margins today.

“A system alert (amber alert) notice has been issued to the electricity market this morning due to low wind, limited electricity imports and forced outages at a number of generators.”

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