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Ulster University has been awarded a prestigious £633,044 research grant for a major study into safeguarding the security and stability of renewable energy supply across the island of Ireland.

Funded by the Department for the Economy under the Science Foundation Ireland Investigators Programme Partnership, Ulster University researchers will work in partnership with University College Dublin. The aim of the research is to explore the extent to which variable renewable energy, especially wind energy, can generate a stable electricity source to meet the needs of the population.

Ireland is trailblazing renewable energy generation mainly through onshore and, in the future, offshore wind farms that take advantage of the favourable climate. In line with EU targets that aim to reduce adverse environmental impacts of energy production, Ireland needs to generate 42.5 per cent of electricity through renewable energy by 2020, of which the majority will be wind. With further targets set for 2030 and 2050, there are concerns about electricity network stability and energy availability.

Lead researcher at Ulster University and Director of the Centre for Sustainable Technologies, Professor Neil Hewitt, said:

“Ulster University’s world-leading expertise in sustainable technologies and renewable energy is helping to inform policy makers globally on energy systems performance, both in terms of economic and environmental impact.

“There is a greater demand being placed on our electricity network with a shift from fossil fuels to more environmentally friendly sources of power.

“I am delighted that Ulster University is working on this project and that our research findings will be used for Government policy guidance for 2020, 2030 and 2050 decarbonisation targets, as well as providing advice on operational strategies for maintaining system security and stability of an electricity network that meets the needs of all end-users.”