Wind farms supplied a record 35% of all electricity used on the island of Ireland last year, according to the annual report of Wind Energy Ireland.
This saved €1.6 billion, north and south, from having to be spent on imported gas and carbon credits that would have been required to burn it.
As a result, over 5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions was prevented, equivalent to taking 1.9 million cars off Irish roads.
On average, every day last year, wind turbines saved €4.2m having to be spent importing gas to generate electricity and the associated carbon credits.
On the best day, 12 January 2023, when wind was strong and gas prices were very high the daily saving was €14m.
The savings are paid out to the owners and operators of the wind farms, and is re-invested in Irish energy infrastructure, helping to continue the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Today’s report from management consultants Baringa for Wind Energy Ireland said Irish wind farms supplied enough electricity last year to power three million households and prevented over five million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.
It said that this is equivalent to a person flying around the world 8,000 times.
The report shows that last year was the best year yet for wind energy generation, with wind farms supplying just over 50% of electricity consumed in December and 35% of electricity demand for the entire year.
Chief Executive of Wind Energy Ireland Noel Cunniffe described this as a true success story and said we are on the way to an energy independent future for Ireland.
He warned however, that wind farms cannot be built, and power cannot be delivered to where it is needed without a planning system that is fit for purpose and without support for EirGrid and ESB Networks to develop a much stronger electricity grid.
He said: “Progress to date on the Planning and Development Bill has been welcomed by industry and the Government’s plan to put in place mandatory timelines for planning decisions as part of the new legislation needs to be fully supported. Both planning reform and grid reinforcement must remain top priorities right across the political system in 2024.”
The average wholesale price of electricity in December 2023 was €88.97 per megawatt-hour (MWh), down 68% from €276.52 in December 2022 raising the possibility of these savings being passed on to consumers in the coming months.