A floating natural gas storage facility and increased oil reserves are to be considered in the Government’s plan to increase energy security.
Energy Security in Ireland to 2030, the Government’s first energy security strategy published in November 2023, outlines national plans to increase energy security, while also delivering on the 2050 commitment of net zero.
Two major areas are highlighted in the report for action; increasing Ireland’s resilience in the event of a disruption to natural gas supplies and developing the anticipatory capacity of the energy sector in Ireland.
Central to energy security plans is the progression of existing plans for renewable generation growth, demand-side flexibility, new back-up gas-fired generation, interconnection, and storage. In parallel, the continued electrification of viable sectors will enhance the security of Ireland’s future energy supply.
However, also included in the plan is recognition of a need for fossil fuel reserves while the energy system transitions to greater renewable use.
In relation to natural gas, the Government says that while current supplies and infrastructure are adequate to meet demand projections, any future disruption could impact heavily on energy security. While the longer-term strategy is for the development of indigenous, renewable gas supply and compatible storage, in the medium term, there is a need to introduce a strategic gas emergency reserve.
Stressing that reserves would be used only if a disruption to gas supplies occurs, Energy Security in Ireland to 2030 says that it is anticipated that floating gas reserve (FSRU) will best meet the needs of the criteria set by government. Gas Networks Ireland has been tasked with returning a detailed proposal to government for final approval in 2024.
Ireland has pre-existing commitments to keep strategic oil stocks of at least a 90-day supply, and also be able to release these stocks quickly, effectively, and transparently in the event of major supply disruption. Under the new strategy, the Government has committed to strengthen the supply chain of secondary fuels for gas-fired power.
Alongside a commitment to an assessment of whether further enhancements can be made to strengthen the secondary fuelling capability in Ireland, the strategy says that a study will be taken forward to help understand and resolve the long-term sourcing issues for improved oil security.
Commenting on the launch of the plan, Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD, says: “By reducing our import dependency through our energy efficiency measures and our investment in a diverse number of renewable energy sources, Ireland will reduce our dependence on imported fossil fuels and dramatically reduce our exposure to energy shocks.”
A follow-up to the Energy Security Package will be published in 2030, and every five years thereafter.
Six key pillars of analysis underpin the Energy Security in Ireland to 2030 report: