Renewable sources accounted for 17% of energy provision in Ireland in 2011 — up by 3% on the previous year.
The figure, published by Eirgrid yesterday, keeps Ireland on track to meet its obligations of sourcing 40% of its total annual energy needs from renewable sources such as wind and solar by 2020.
Eirgrid is in the midst of implementing its Grid25 programme, which will overhaul the long-term electricity supply in Ireland.
Originally costing €4bn to implement, Eirgrid last year said it should come in at €800m under budget, at a final cost of €3.2bn.
However, chief executive Dermot Byrne yesterday said that with the onset of new technology the total cost could be even lower. He added that the final costs of the East-West Interconnector — which will electrically connect Ireland with Britain and, ultimately, mainland Europe — should also come in under its initial €600m budget.
"A stronger grid will provide benefits to all regions of Ireland. The East-West Interconnector will enable us to participate in the UK and European electricity markets," chairperson Bernie Gray said, adding that the upgraded grid will provide a platform for economic recovery and inward investment.
Mr Byrne said the first auction for capacity on the East-West Interconnector will take place this summer, with the project set to be completed in September.
It will, he added, "develop a new and indigenous sector — the energy export market".
He said the recent €500m investment in the new electricity link between Munster and Leinster will enable Ireland to have a 21st century grid, "modern enough and flexible enough to cater for the requirements of future generations".