The international energy sector is experiencing a period of rapid and unprecedented change. The energy sector on the island-of-Ireland has unique challenges arising from its location, demographics and the structure of the island economy. It is now more important than ever that, in facing these challenges, the island leverage all of the expertise and knowledge in the energy sector and beyond to forge an energy policy that can maintain the island’s competitiveness while meeting these extensive challenges.
The stakeholders involved in the formulation of the relevant energy policy, legislation, regulation and rules are straddled across Dublin, London, Belfast and Brussels. Deeper European integration, and the ongoing development of the EU Internal Energy Market has provided the context for the deep and sustained integration of the all-island energy market. The Single Electricity Market (SEM) is underpinned by a Memorandum of Understanding between Ireland and Northern Ireland, legislation in the respective jurisdictions and a number of common codes. Overarching regulatory oversight is provided by the SEM Committee (SEMC), which is constituted by the CRU, UREGNI and a number of independent members.
EAI, and its members, participate actively in the influential lobby group, Eurelectric, in order to ensure that the island’s voice is heard in relation to the formulation of European Energy Policy. We also work with all relevant stakeholders on the island to ensure that the approach to the transposition of relevant legislation is informed and appropriate in meeting the energy demands of the all-island economy.
The Internal Energy Market (IEM) is underpinned by general EU legislation, and a package of constantly-evolving energy-specific legislation. The approach to transposition offers many challenges and opportunities for each member state. EAI, together with its members, leverages its expertise to ensure a sensible and cost-effective approach to compliance is adopted.
A significant body of climate and energy legislation, collectively termed the Clean Energy Package, will be completed by 2019, and will require a significant body of work to be undertaken by all stakeholders on the island. The ongoing BREXIT process will create unique challenges for our regional approach to these issues. EAI, and its members, are committed to supporting the existing Governance Framework to ensure the continuation of an all-island approach to energy and climate issues.
The all-island Governance framework provides a successful precedent for the cross-jurisdictional cooperation that is needed to support the smooth functioning of the Internal Energy Market. EAI, however, sees significant room for improvement in the following areas, to ensure that the SEM can withstand and endure, through the significant challenges that lie ahead;
- greater co-ordination between Government departments on energy policy issues,
- a more robust accountability framework with clarity regarding policy objectives and priorities,
- greater transparency in reporting and decision making,
- adequate resourcing for both regulators and Government Departments
- the introduction of an appeals mechanism for both the CRU and the Single Electricity Market (SEM) Committee to ensure confidence in their integrity.