Eirgrid to hold capacity auction for firms to trade energy on East West Interconnector

12 Jun 2012

Eirgrid CEO Dermot Byrne with the British Ambassador to Ireland Dominick Chilcott at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin today

Energy infrastructure company Eirgrid has today announced details about how companies can bid to trade energy when the East West Interconnector, the underground and undersea link connecting Ireland and the UK, is completed by September.

Eirgrid will be holding its first capacity auction on 19 June so energy companies, especially those with wind-farm operations, can bid to trade energy when the additional 500 megawatts of interconnection capacity between the Irish and British electricity markets becomes available in September and October.

Eirgrid had its trade launch at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium today, where representatives from energy companies gathered to learn about how they can go about bidding to trade energy during the first of Eirgrid’s rolling auctions.

Eirgrid held a similar event in London a few weeks ago to help energy firms in the UK get up to speed on how the auction process will work.

Eirgrid’s director of operations Fintan Slye said today that the East West Interconnector will open new markets to energy companies and will provide increased opportunities to trade electricity between the Irish Single Electricity Market and the British Electricity Trading and Transmission Arrangements market.

As for the interconnector itself, it will run between Woodland, Co Meath, in Ireland and Deeside in north Wales. The underground and undersea link will have the capacity to transport 500 megawatts – enough energy to power 300,000 homes, Eirgrid confirmed today.

In addition to helping to improve security of supply, other aims of the interconnector are to increase competitiveness and to encourage the onslaught of renewable energy generation.

Just at the end of May, Ireland’s Energy Minister Pat Rabbitte, TD, revealed the Government’s Strategy for Renewable Energy 2012-2020.

Part of the strategy addresses the potential for exporting renewables to the UK.

At the time, Rabbitte said he would be meeting with UK Energy Minister Charles Hendry in June to carry out negotiations on an intergovernmental agreement around energy.

He said such an energy agreement with the UK would mean that those involved in the generation of both onshore and offshore renewable energy in Ireland would have an additional market to serve.

“Given the scale of our wind resources, in the medium term we could be exporting wind energy on a scale that matches the total electricity consumption of the country,” said Rabbitte at the time.

“We use six to seven gigawatts ourselves each year and I believe we could be exporting the same quantum to the UK and beyond in the coming years,” he added.

Ireland has target to ensure that at least 16pc of all energy consumed in the country is from renewables by 2020. This includes a sub-target of 10pc in the transport sector.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic