The British Irish Chamber of Commerce (BICC) and Energy UK hosted ‘The Future of the UK–Ireland Energy Relationship’ in London last Friday, 2nd February. Michael Manley, Assistant Secretary of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE), delivered the keynote speech to the 120 attendees.
The event was timely as it followed the publication of the House of Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee’s report on Brexit: energy security, energy supply, consumer costs and decarbonisation. In addition, Energy UK prior to the event published ‘Brexit and future EU-UK energy relationship’ which set outs a number of positions regarding key issues required to frame the UK’s energy negotiations with the EU.
The overall sentiment expressed at the event was the need for certainty and clarity around the operation of the Single Energy Market (SEM) and forthcoming Integrated Single Energy Market (ISEM) given the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. SEM came into operation in November 2007, creating a wholesale electricity market between the Republic and Northern Ireland. Operating across multiple jurisdictions and trading in two currencies, Ireland’s SEM has improved the security of Ireland’s energy supply as well as facilitating higher rates of renewable energy penetration. By closely tracking input fuel prices as well as the costs and bids of generators, SEM has fostered competition and transparency in both the spot market and capacity electricity market in Ireland for almost a decade. ISEM is an update of the SEM and is envisaged to be operational in early 2018.
The benefits of SEM and ISEM in terms of reduced cost for consumers and enhancing the energy trading between Ireland and the UK were strongly emphasised at Friday’s event. Key concerns facing the gas and electricity sectors include the UK’s continued participation in pan-European energy initiatives, post-Brexit dispute resolution and EU mandated sustainable energy and emissions reduction targets.
Stephen Walsh, Geoscience Ireland Market Advisor, sits on the BICC Energy Committee and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.