‘Examination of Recent Developments in the Northern Ireland Energy Sector’
The Electricity Association of Ireland (EAI) welcomed today’s opportunity to give evidence to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee Inquiry into Electricity as it examines recent developments in the electricity sector and their impact.
Maintaining ongoing integration with neighbouring European markets
EAI Chief Executive Dara Lynott spoke on behalf of the all-island electricity industry about the value of preserving the Single Electricity Market (SEM) post Brexit. He said the sector “would love for ISEM to continue in all its facets” and explained that despite Brexit this is possible in the case that the protocols (the grid network codes) are replicated by the UK and an agreement is put in place with regards to any modifications, thereby reducing cost. He said that the EAI is advocating for “the UK to be part and present at and contribute through a number of the regulatory bodies that determine the codes for the energy market”.
Dara explained that the level of interconnection and the complexity of separate protocols and codes that the industry has to abide by are factors in determining costs for electricity consumers, “we are hoping that rules and regulations will be identical across the various trading partners…with the ultimate goal of reducing costs for consumers”, he said.
Need for policy framework
Speaking about the current Stormont impasse and its impact, Dara highlighted that Northern Ireland’s ambitious 40% renewables' target requires a number of decisions to be made. He said: “The lack of Executive and clear policy is only going to hamper investment and the potential for investment in Northern Ireland. Certain technologies are going to need support…there will be a cost associated with supports…that will eventually get us over the line to a decarbonised energy sector.”
Assurance for investors
“The draft agreement [on Brexit] and the stated policy objective of protecting the SEM is welcome; that has given some assurance to investors but the difficulty now for investors is where will the Government go in terms of its support of the types of technologies that will allow for decarbonisation to happen within the timeframe set out and the ultimate timeframe for that is going to be 2050.”
North South Interconnector crucial
Dara explained that the second North South Interconnector development will be an important part of reducing any deficit that applies.