Decarbonising the Irish grid

Posted by – 2014/01/01

Following on from this question on the Sustainability Stack Exchange about decarbonisation in Eire, and a discussion on the Claverton Energy Group about the British and Irish grids, I took a quick look at the data on carbon intensity and wind generation in the Irish grid. This uses all the available data at time of writing – 38 months, from November 2008 to the end of December 2013.

Here’s the impact that its wind generation has on the carbon intensity of the grid: each MW of wind power that’s generating, reduces the carbon intensity of electricity by 0.138 gCO2/kWh: 1GW of generation reduces the carbon intensity by 138 gCO2/kWh. For context, average demand is about 2.9 GW, and peak demand is about 5 GW.

Scatter graph of wind generation and carbon intensity in Eire
I’ve used Robust regression, as there are some reporting errors in there (further cleaning has refined the estimate to 0.136 from 0.138).

The y-axis is baselined at 200 gCO2/kWh, because there’s very little real data below that line at present.

I note that Eirgrid has heat-curves for every thermal plant on the grid (which is how they calculate the carbon intensity). Does National Grid have anything like that for GB? Do you? Would you like to share them with me?

And re the data-cleaning – just in case anyone else downloads the wind forecast and generation data, note that every year on the last Sunday in October, the wind data for each of the four quarter-hours when the clocks go back is duplicated.

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