Ann Scully, an executive director at EirGrid, has been elected to the board of ENTSO-E, the European network of transmission system operators for electricity. EirGrid’s chief executive Fintan Slye said today that Scully’s election to the European body, as an EirGrid representative, signals a “significant” step forward in terms of the participation of Ireland and Northern Ireland in the European electricity sector.
Scully has responsibility for European Affairs at EirGrid, the grid operator and market operator in Ireland and Northern Ireland. In the north of the island, the State-owned body EirGrid operates under the name of SONI.
Her election to the 12-person board was among a number of developments announced at the Annual Assembly of ENTSO-E.
Integration of electricity markets at European level
The European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) is preparing regulations that will set the rules for all players in the European electricity sector for the coming decades. It is also identifying the future needs for European electricity infrastructure.
Some of the areas that are a strategic focus of ENTSO-E include moving towards the integration of electricity markets at European level, especially with the European Union’s 2020 targets in terms of integrating renewables into grids in EU member states.
Achieving the smart grid: integrating wind energy
EirGrid has been regarded as being one of the trailblazers internationally in relation to its moves to upgrade the grid infrastructure on the island of Ireland – as part of its Grid25 programme. It is on a mission to be an exemplar for the smart grid globally.
Just last year, for instance the East-West Interconnector went live, to link Ireland with the UK, and potentially pave the way for electricity trading – particularly from wind energy output – between the two countries.
Experts in the climate space believe that this interconnection could have the scope, if leveraged properly and fairly, to help the UK meet its 2020 renewable energy targets. This is because demand is expected to outstrip supply in the renewables space in the UK.
Exporting excess wind energy output to the UK – a good idea?
Ireland’s Energy Minister Pat Rabbitte, TD, has been cited as saying that Ireland could become a significant exporter of "excess" wind energy to the UK, down the line.
Together with the UK’s Energy Secretary ED Davey, MP, Rabbitte signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on electricity trading this past January in Dublin City. The idea of the MoU is to pave the way for an inter-governmental agreement between both Ireland and the UK – possibly by 2014 – to allow for the trading of electricity generated from renewables before 2020 comes around.
As for EirGrid, the State-owned body holds licences as the independent electricity transmission system operator (TSO) and market operator (MO) in the wholesale trading system in Ireland, and is the owner of the System Operator Northern Ireland (SONI Ltd).
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