One third of Irish households will be generating their own electricity within 10 years, the ESB’s chief executive has predicted. Pat O’Doherty said that the company is witnessing a dramatic rise in the number of customers investing in new technologies to reduce their reliance on the national grid.
However he warned that this shift to self-sufficiency had the potential to create an “energy divide”, with poorer households shouldering an unfair proportion of the grid’s running costs. He was speaking at a Dublin conference on the future of energy, hosted by the ESB and the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA).
As the price of renewable energy equipment falls and the cost of energy supplied by power companies, such as the ESB, rises, the business model of the traditional energy utilities is breaking down.
“We’re at a point where traditional technology and market models won’t be capable of meeting future customer or societal needs,” Mr O’Doherty said, “and rapid technological innovation is enabling a raft of possible solutions that will transform the energy landscape.”
A key enabler of this change has been innovations in battery technology, with US tech giant Tesla Motors committing to a huge increase in battery production, a move that has already reduced the cost of energy storage by 50 per cent. The company’s vice president of business development, Diarmuid O’Connell, told the conference that cheap battery storage would be as disruptive to the energy industry as the mobile phone had been to telecommunications.
Source: The Irish Times