The European Communities (Internal Market in Electricity) Regulations 2005 (SI 60 of 2005) enhanced the CER’s role in relation to security of supply, stating “the Commission shall take such measures as it considers necessary, to protect security of supply.” The SI also obliges the CER to submit to the European Commission every 2 years, details of the monitoring arrangements it has in place in Ireland regarding security of supply of electricity. In its most recent report published in July 2010, the CER concludes that no threats exist to Ireland’s supply of electricity and that “the market framework in place is appropriate to encourage new investment and enhance security of supply."
In reaching this conclusion the CER identified a number of developments, including:
- There is expected to be a surplus in capacity in the next few years. This is due to the availability of 870MW of CCGT generation capacity this year, improved connection with Northern Ireland, a new 500MW interconnector in 2012 (EWIC) and over 400MW of renewable generators connected to the system over the last 2 years;
- Eirgrid, as TSO, has ancillary services contracts in place with number of generators;
- Pursuant to its decision published in 2009, the CER requires generators to hold a secondary fuel on site that will enable them to run for a certain amount of time. For example, gas fired plants must be capable of running on an alternative fuel;
- There is increasing investment into the network. Grid 25 was launched by Eirgrid in 2008 and an upgraded electricity network will be key in achieving Ireland’s renewable targets;
- Interconnection such as the North-South tie line, Moyle Interconnector, and EWIC.
The CER does however express concern at Ireland’s significant reliance on imported fossil fuels – in 2008 82% of electricity generation came from imported fossil fuels. While in the context of supply, the importation of these fuels has proved reliable to date, the CER feels that such a heavy reliance is leaving Ireland overly exposed to world fuel prices and dependent on world stocks of fuel.
A link to the Security of Supply Report 2010 is available here.