Ireland up for the challenge: decarbonisation, electrification, competition and governance

On Tuesday 18 September, Cornwall Insight Ireland hosted its Navigating I-SEM event. Dara Lynott, CEO of The Electricity Association of Ireland (EAI) gave a keynote speech, presented below, in which he highlighted four areas that will be key as Ireland transitions to the new Integrated Single Electricity Market (I-SEM): decarbonisation, electrification, competition within the market and governance.

Decarbonisation

To transition to a decarbonised electricity sector by 2050 Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions must be net zero. This is absolutely critical. A decarbonised electricity system will decarbonise society and move transport and heating away from fossil fuels. And this absolutely makes sense for an island.

In Ireland we have a huge ambition, stated in our national policy, of an 80% emissions reduction by 2050. But, as an island we are so reliant on imported fuels, have a unique composition given the importance of agriculture and have low to moderate levels of interconnection that may or may not improve in the future given some of the governance issues that we are dealing with in terms of the North of Ireland. We have the second highest penetration of wind in Europe, which is an advantage, but there is no roadmap that we can copy – we can’t rely on nuclear or new large-scale sources of hydro coming on the system like other continental countries can, for example.

So, while the electricity sector has provided 52% of overall reductions for the country since 2000, for us to decarbonise will require agriculture, transport and the built environment to do some of the heavy lifting. On the policy front we also have no clear pathway to carbon capture and storage (CCS) at the moment, which will be key if we are to decarbonise, and the pathway to renewable gas must also be considered given that 52% of our power uses gas for generation.

Related thinking

Announcement

Energy market and net zero transition learning and development: Role-relevant career development training

We’re well over halfway through the calendar year and are now beginning to see more of the government’s thinking and policy-shaping around what needs to change to meet the 2050 net zero target. For example, the flurry of documents issued towards the end of 2020, including the Energy White Paper...

Net zero corporates and ESG

Data critical for sustainable investments

On 24 June, attendees to our 'Financing net zero forum' tuned in to hear the expert panel discussions on the role of data in sustainable investment. Joining the meeting chairs, Cornwall Insight's Daniel Atzori and Emma Bill were our guest panellists from Mercatus and Victory Hill Capital Group LLP. For investors to make...

Heat networks

Reallocating electricity policy costs to incentivise low carbon heating technologies

Funding the cost of decarbonising the power system has mainly been through the consumers' electricity bills. In fact, in 2020-21 these costs amounted to a whopping £10bn. But is this method of raising revenue for decarbonisation still fit for purpose when faced with the need to decarbonise the nation's heat?...

Net zero corporates and ESG

Financing net zero panel advises policymakers for a long-term view of net zero to boost merchant renewable confidence

Last Thursday's 'Financing net zero forum' brought together 580 registered attendees across the renewables sector to listen to the expert panel discuss managing renewable merchant risk. Joining the chair of the meeting were experts from across the industry, with Shoosmiths sponsoring the afternoon discussions. Merchant renewables – the development of...

Net zero corporates and ESG

Get ready for climate risk reporting?

On 30 April we released the latest copy of our Energy net zero. The publication takes an in-depth look at the UK's transition to a low carbon economy. The below is an extract from our Energy Perspective on Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD). The article was originally published in the...

Commercial and market outlook

Data centres predicted to become prosumers of electricity

In combination with Cornwall Insight and Bit Power, Host in Ireland published its Biannual report of Ireland’s Data Hosting Industry. The report highlights the importance of sustainability in Ireland’s digital transformation. The report confirmed the number of operational data centres in Ireland increased by 25 per cent over the past...

Low carbon generation

Why energy system governance is not fit for purpose

In my recent blog, the Emperor’s new clothes I referenced a poll of our Financing Net Zero (FNZ) membership which revealed 75% support for an energy systems architect to ensure we manage the net zero transition. In the spirit of independent thinking that Cornwall Insight is known for, I respectfully disagreed and...

Energy storage and flexibility

How nuclear energy can help the UK reach its net zero goals

This article was originally written in Energy Spectrum on 21 March 2021. To find out more about a subscription to Energy Spectrum, please contact Nick on n.palmer@cornwall-insight.com. There are several challenges to reaching net zero, where its proponents believe nuclear could add value. Some of tomorrow’s main issues concern: How to provide low...

This site is registered on wpml.org as a development site.