EirGrid is today briefing the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union on the likely impact of Brexit on Ireland’s energy security.
The committee’s visit to Dublin takes place two days after the publication of its report “Brexit: Energy Security”. The report endorses two key projects currently being developed by EirGrid Group; the Integrated Single Electricity Market (ISEM) and the North South Interconnector.
ISEM is a new wholesale electricity market arrangement for Ireland and Northern Ireland that comprises multiple markets, each spanning different trading time frames. It is designed to integrate the all-island electricity market with European electricity markets.
The House of Lords committee says ISEM “will benefit both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in terms of energy security, decarbonisation and energy prices. We are encouraged that both the Government and the European Commission recognise its value and are seeking to preserve it.”
ISEM is scheduled to go live in May and the results of the first capacity market auction were published on Friday.
The committee warns that the complexity of maintaining the ISEM arrangement will increase significantly if the UK leaves the EU’s Internal Energy Market (IEM). According to the report: “The UK’s negotiators must therefore plan for this eventuality, for example by addressing how Northern Irish organisations would be able to interact with the IEM as a non-member, and by establishing a forum for dispute resolution.”
The North South Interconnector is a €280 million investment that will connect the electricity grids of Ireland and Northern Ireland. It received approval from the planning authority in Northern Ireland last week and in Ireland in December 2016.
The report concludes: “The construction of the North-South interconnector on the island of Ireland is vital for reducing consumer costs in both countries, and for maintaining energy security in Northern Ireland. The Government must satisfy itself that its construction is not at risk as a result of Brexit. If that cannot be established, the Government must underwrite its cost to provide investor certainty.”
Rodney Doyle, EirGrid Director of Market Operations, will tell the committee that while Brexit presents challenges and uncertainties, EirGrid Group is committed to the delivery of the new market arrangements.