Leo Varadkar ‘confident’ Ireland can avoid electricity blackouts
30th September 2021
© Niall Carson Leo Varadkar said he was ‘confident’ Ireland could avoid blackouts (Niall Carson/PA)
Leo Varadkar has told the Dail he is “confident” Ireland can avoid power blackouts this winter.
The Tanaiste told the Dail, following questions from Pearse Doherty of Sinn Fein, that he believed the Government’s plan would mean Ireland could avoid any electricity blackouts in the months to come.
However, he said it was not something anyone could guarantee.
On Wednesday, Taoiseach Micheal Martin attempted to allay the public’s fears over possible power outages this winter, saying everything would be done to prevent them.
He said any short-term demand problems would be managed by working with large companies, which will be required to use their back-up power supply.
Mr Martin said two gas-fired plants currently offline for maintenance would be back up and running in October and November.
“I am confident that the plan that has been put in place will enable us to avoid blackouts or brownouts this winter, but nobody can absolutely guarantee that,” Mr Varadkar said on Thursday.
Mr Doherty told the Tanaiste: “I think people want to know is there a guarantee that there won’t be blackouts? And all the while ordinary people are seeing their prices increase.”
He said that the growth of data centres was putting growing strain on Ireland’s energy supply.
Calling for a Dail debate on the issue, Mr Doherty said: “It’s clear that we need to have a conversation about the demands placed on the energy infrastructure into the future.”
Mr Varadkar agreed with the suggestion from Sinn Fein that the Dail should hold a debate on the issue of Ireland’s energy supply.
“We need those two power stations that are out of action in Huntstown and in Cork to be back in action in October and November,” Mr Varadkar said.
“Price is driven by a very significant increase in gas prices across Europe which unfortunately is not something that we can control.”
The Tanaiste also said that data centres currently make up 11% of Ireland’s electricity demand.
“One large power station has enough to power all of them. But of course, the increase in the number of data centres planned over the coming years is an issue and we need to make sure that data centres are part of the solution as well as part of the problem.”