Irish wind farms set new April record

04 May 2023

Ireland’s wind farms set a new record this year with their best ever performance for the month of April. Wind energy provided 35 per cent of the country’s electricity last month and for the first four months of the year has met 38 per cent of power demand.

  Wind Energy April 2023 Key Statistics

There was some good news for consumers as wholesale electricity prices fell again, for the fourth consecutive month, and the average wholesale price of electricity in April 2023 was the lowest it has been since June 2021.

The amount of electricity produced by wind energy last month was up 8 per cent against April 2022 while the share of demand met rose from 32 per cent to 35 per cent as demand for power continued to rise.

Noel Cunniffe, CEO of Wind Energy Ireland, said: “Ireland’s wind farms are reducing our reliance on imported fossil fuels, supporting Irish jobs and helping to push down wholesale electricity prices while cutting the carbon emissions which are fuelling the climate emergency.

“We know we can make an even bigger difference if we can connect more wind farms and this week saw significant progress with the closure of our first ever auction for offshore wind energy and the publication of the terms and conditions for the next onshore renewables auction.

“The best way out of the current energy crisis is to accelerate the development of renewable energy and the Government is helping to do just that by setting out a clear auction timetable.”

However, Wind Energy Ireland also warned that the best way to ensure auctions are competitive is to enable as many projects as possible to compete which will require speeding up the planning system.

Noel Cunniffe continued: “A clear timetable for onshore renewable electricity auctions is very welcome but the best way to get a good return for consumers is to ensure as many projects as possible are competing against each other to provide power at the best price.

“We are expecting a small number of wind projects to be competing in the next auction. This is not because the pipeline is not there, we have more than 10 GW of onshore projects in development, but because so many of our projects are being delayed in the planning system.

“We will not achieve our Climate Action Plan targets, much less energy independence, with a planning system that is simply not fit for purpose. This year’s budget must prioritise proper resourcing for An Bord Pleanála, the National Parks & Wildlife Service, local authorities and key environmental stakeholders.”

Wholesale prices continue to fall

The average wholesale price of electricity fell in April, for the fourth straight month, to €125.57. This is the lowest the average monthly price has been since June 2021 but still significantly above average prices before the fossil-fuel energy crisis began.

Prices fell even further last month on days with the most wind power when the average cost of a megawatt-hour of electricity was €108.01, rising to €129.29 on days when we had to rely almost entirely on fossil-fuels.

Noel Cunniffe, CEO of Wind Energy Ireland, said: “The continued fall in wholesale electricity prices is welcome news and we hope that consumers will soon see the benefit.

“However, families and businesses will remain at risk while we remain dependent on imported fossil-fuels. If we have a cold winter and if China returns aggressively to the LNG market we will be exposed again to record electricity prices.

“The quicker we can build wind farms, and the faster we can reinforce the electricity grid, the sooner we can rely on Irish renewable energy to provide our electricity.”

The results of this report are based on EirGrid’s SCADA data compiled by MullanGrid and on market data provided by ElectroRoute.


Note: A megawatt-hour (MWh) is a unit of electricity. A normal Irish household will use approximately 4.6 megawatt-hours of electricity in a single year. A 3 MW turbine producing electricity at maximum capacity for an hour will produce 3 megawatt-hours. A gigawatt-hour (GWh) is 1,000 MWh.