How to offset the increase in energy prices in Ireland

Even before Russia invaded Ukraine (February 28th, 2022) energy prices were on the rise in Ireland and uncertainty about the energy market has been with us since mid-2021.

According to Tánaiste Simon Coveney, speaking recently on Newstalk (early April 2022) “the price of energy was going to be unpredictable in the months ahead because of the war in Ukraine.” However, the uncertainty about the length of the war has only exacerbated this.

To counter these upward price movements, Minister Eamon Ryan has said that the Irish government has a a plan to alleviate the increases starting with a credit. He also said that “the €230 credit was just one measure from a €2bn package to help families and businesses.” so maybe we should be confident that this program might bring a level of relief from this price volatility.

What are your options and how can you address these as both a homeowner or a business owner?

Generate your own power. 

One of the ways you can protect yourself from the vagaries of the energy market is by generating your own power. In the Irish Times, (February 20th 2022), piece entitled “Can you beat rising energy costs by generating your own power?”, Alanna Gallagher provides a useful example of how solar PV can work for an average domestic home stating that “If you use an average 2,000kWh pa then you will have paid off the investment in 13.5 years. But most panels have a 25-year lifespan, so the upside is that homeowners can get up to 11.5 years of electricity generation free.

Sell back to the grid

Something else worth considering and another development in 2022, is that The Department of the Environment, Climate and Communication has announced that from this year you will be able to sell electricity back to the grid. This is a critical factor to be considered before investing in Solar because it eliminates any lost or unused power and enables you as the provider to actually become a net energy contributor. They provide this example to explain how it will work “Take the example of a simple PV panel system in a house that generates 2,000 kWh (kilowatt hours) a year and in which the typical household consumption starts from 1,000kWh a year. This means that while 1,000 kWh will come off the billpayer’s annual cost of electricity, the other 1,000 kWh is, for now, squandered – in that it is sent back to the grid. You are, in effect, giving away energy that you have paid to generate.“ If this can now be sold back to the grid, it will make the Solar PV investment much more efficient as well as delivering energy to the grid for consumption. By selling to the grid, the length of your return on investment in Solar Panels is shortened by months or even years.”

However, apart from the supply side pressures on energy prices in Ireland, demand is also expected to increase. In the Irish Examiner Article “Ukraine war puts spotlight on Ireland’s clean energy future” “electricity demand projected to increase by between 19% and 50% by 2030” demonstrating that even without the war or global energy disruption, the system is Ireland will come under increasing pressure.

With Russia now (April 2022) threatening to cut off the gas supply to Europe, this will obviously add to supply pressures and negatively affect energy pricing in Ireland. According to Paul Deane on RTE. “Any invasion of Ukraine and associated interruption of gas supply from Russia to Europe is unlikely to lead to gas shortages in Ireland, but we would instead feel the impact of the interruption via higher energy costs.”

He does also point out that “Over a period of three to six months, the EU is likely to be able to survive a disruption to Russian gas imports. However, the picture becomes complicated when longer interruption is considered. Running the European economy for several years without Russian gas would be remarkably challenging.” and concluding that “A price disruption is a more likely outcome for Ireland from any interruption in gas from Russia into Europe, but having indigenous production would be of marginal benefit in this case.

Move to Solar Power now – Save later

If the war in Ukraine has done anything, it has highlighted Europe’s dependence on Russian gas and also the continued dependence internationally on fossil fuels for the bulk of the energy requirements. Perhaps now is an opportune time for us individually and collectively to consider the benefits of Solar power, long duration storage batteries and selling excess power back to the grid for the benefit of all. It is lower cost, better for the environment and less dependent on others.

If you would like to see how solar power can benefit you or your business, contact us today at Wyse Solar. We have been installing solar systems in Ireland since 1993 and have the largest number of installations of Photovoltaic (PV) systems in Ireland.

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