Ireland Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Development Powered by Renewables

Wind power is set to be the primary power source for the irish electric vehicle programme creating clean transport.
Published: Mon 11 Aug 2014

In an attempt to attract the electric vehicle industry to Ireland, the government has offered various incentives around eco energy solutions and non conventional energy sources. The government has also guaranteed that there will be a national electric vehicle charging infrastructure in place.

Carbon emissions and wind power are key drivers

According to Senan MacGrath, Chief Technology Officer, ESB cars, whose presentation, E-Car Ireland Project, appears on Engerati, there are two driving forces behind electric vehicle development in Ireland:

  • The carbon emission challenge
  • High levels of wind generation

Detail on the project and its aims were discussed in an Engerati webinar Laying the Foundations for Electric Vehicles - The ESB Story presented by Dermot McArdle Head of ESB ecars.

Agricultural emissions are on the increase and the country relies heavily on this sector for income. Therefore emission savings must come from elsewhere-transport. Because transport has to carry the weight of agricultural emissions, it makes sense to use the high levels of wind generation to power vehicles.

Ireland’s wind power facts speak for themselves-approximately 15% power is currently generated from wind. By 2020, wind power will account for 40% of Ireland’s electricity consumption. This excludes onshore wind power.

Excess wind power ideal for electric vehicles

Excess wind power is becoming a huge problem and energy storage systems are being explored. MacGrath says that the country is unable to “spill” wind for negative prices and must therefore find a way to store and use this excess effectively.

Six reasons why Ireland is ideal for electric vehicles:

1. Short distances between urban centers

2. Ideal climate for batteries

3. High level of single family dwellings

4. A leader in the IT sector-most of these IT companies have their head quarters in Ireland and are “green”

5. Ireland has a single electricity network company which makes decision-making less complicated

6. Government commitment to green energy solutions

80% wind power target by 2020

By 2020, Ireland is aiming for 80% wind and 20% gas electricity generation for electric vehicles. This will bring current emissions down considerably.

The national roll-out of charging infrastructure is behind schedule because the expected volume of electric vehicles is yet to be delivered. This is mainly due to the recession. “It is a matter of time before there is at least one charging point in every town with a 1500 plus population,” explains MacGrath.

The country has also launched the Green Tourist Routes programme where hotels and tourist routes will have chargers installed. There are also plans to fit fast-chargers every 60km on inter-urban routes. The country is also assessing fast-charging infrastructure. Smart charging will be done via the cloud and will bypass the need for home energy management systems eventually, says MacGrath.