EirGrid and SONI Join European Counterparts to Prevent Future Electricity Blackouts

18 December 2017

EirGrid and SONI, the two grid operators on the island of Ireland, are joining forces with their European counterparts to help prevent future electricity blackouts.

The two companies are joining Coreso, the coordinating body aimed at ensuring security of electricity supply across Western Europe. Other members include the transmission system operators from Belgium (Elia), France (RTE), the UK (National Grid), Italy (Terna), Germany (50Hertz), Portugal (REN) and Spain (REE).

Coreso is one of five Regional Security Coordinators across Europe. It was established following serious power disruption in Europe in 2006 that resulted in 15 million people being left without power. The problem was identified as a lack of coordination between grid operators in Western Europe.

With support from the European Commission, Coreso was established in 2008 to improve security coordination between grid operators in Europe and to provide services that support the coupling of European electricity markets.

The involvement of the Irish operators arises from new European regulations and to support the functioning of the future Integrated Single Electricity Market (I-SEM).

Jean François Gahungu, CEO of Coreso, commented: “EirGrid and SONI’s membership and shareholding in Coreso will ensure coherent coordination in what we call the Ireland-United Kingdom and Channel area.”

Coreso has a core team of more than 40 engineers from seven countries that assess in real-time the security of the European electrical system from its centre in Brussels. It also liaises when necessary with grid operators to ensure security of supply on a European basis.

Fintan Slye, Chief Executive of EirGrid, said: “Joining Coreso will result in increased efficiency in system operation and minimises risks of wide area events, such as brownouts or blackouts. It will also reduce costs through maximised availability of transmission capacity to electricity generators.”

Robin McCormick, Director, Operations, Planning & Innovation and General Manager SONI, added: “Enhanced coordination among grid operators will also minimise the need for the costly re-dispatching of electricity generation, especially costly emergency actions.”