Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Questions (55)

Seán Sherlock


55. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the progress which has been made on the creation of an all-Ireland energy market. [7343/18]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

The Single Electricity Market (SEM) is the wholesale electricity market for Ireland and Northern Ireland and it has operated successfully on this island since 2007. It has delivered an efficient, cost reflective, competitive market, while assuring security of supply and integrating significant volumes of renewable electricity into the generation mix.

As a result of the common EU policy of delivering the Internal Energy Market and Energy Union and following European legislation aimed at harmonising cross-border trade in electricity, the SEM will have to change how it operates. The development of the associated new wholesale market rules is a Regulator-led project, with oversight by my Department and the Department for the Economy Northern Ireland (DfE) to ensure legal and policy compliance. The Integrated-Single Electricity Market (I-SEM) project, to design and implement the new rules, has been underway since 2012.  Legislation was amended in Ireland and Northern Ireland to allow the Regulators make the necessary changes to the electricity market rules. The new market will go live in 2018.

The benefits will include more competitive wholesale electricity prices for consumers through more efficient market trading; efficient dispatch of interconnection to other markets; and increased security of supply for Ireland.

As regards the all island gas market, the Common Arrangements for Gas (CAG) project commenced in 2008 between Northern Ireland and Ireland.  It aimed to harmonise technical operations of the gas transmission networks in both jurisdictions. The project was superseded by EU internal gas market developments that require the implementation of binding EU-wide gas network codes in Member States, including Ireland and Northern Ireland. These EU network codes are the EU rules for cross-border gas trading.