Both Ireland and Northern Ireland have set targets for renewable penetration of 40% of electricity consumed by 2020.

In order to achieve these targets, and due to the intermittent nature of wind generation, wind penetration on the all-island system at times will be significantly in excess of 40%. However wind is a non-synchronous source of power. As wind penetration levels increase between now and 2020, the level of non-synchronous power on the all-island system will increase, at a rate greater than any other region in Europe over this timeframe.

In this respect, the expected changes in the all-island system will be largely a unique one. The RAs and the Transmission System Operators (TSOs) have identified significant risks to the secure and reliable operation of the system as levels of non-synchronous generation increase. These risks primarily relate to frequency and voltage control, system inertia and the level of reserve as well as generation plant performance and flexibility. The current level of wind penetration on the system is 50% after which it has to be curtailed to maintain a secure electricity system. This 50% limit is a barrier to achieving the 40% renewable target by 2020.

The TSOs have undertaken detailed analysis of the requirements of the electricity system on the island of Ireland for system services to support the secure and reliable operation of the system as levels of non-synchronous wind penetration increase. The programme of work to resolve the challenges and concerns is called the “DS3 Programme – Delivering a Secure, Sustainable Electricity System”.