Gas generation and wind power: a review of unlikely allies in the United Kingdom and Ireland

Joseph Devlin, Kang Li, Paraic Higgins, Aoife Foley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
243 Downloads (Pure)


No single solution currently exists to achieve the utopian desire of zero fossil fuel electricity generation. Until such time, it is evident that the energy mix will contain a large variation in stochastic and intermittent sources of renewable energy such as wind power. The increasing prominence of wind power in pursuit of legally binding European energy targets enables policy makers and conventional generating companies to plan for the unique challenges such a natural resource presents. This drive for wind has been highly beneficial in terms of security of energy supply and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, it has created an unusual ally in natural gas. This paper outlines the suitability and challenges faced by gas generating units in their utilisation as key assets for renewable energy integration and the transition to a low carbon future. The Single Electricity Market of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and the British Electricity Transmission Trading Agreement Market are the backdrop to this analysis. Both of these energy markets have a reliance on gas generation matching the proliferation of wind power. The unlikely and mostly ignored relationship between natural gas generation and wind power due to policy decisions and market forces is the necessity of gas to act as a bridging fuel. This review finds gas generation to be crucially important to the continued growth of renewable energy. Additionally, it is suggested that power market design should adequately reward the flexibility required to securely operate a power system with high penetrations of renewable energy, which in most cases is provided by gas generation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)757-768
Number of pages12
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Early online date10 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - 01 Apr 2017


  • Gas generation
  • Wind power
  • Power system operation
  • Power system security
  • Integrated energy systems
  • Gas infrastructure

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