Britain has elected to leave the EU and the potential problems for Ireland’s energy market are incalculable.
Gas, as the cleanest fossil fuel, has increasingly been relied upon on Ireland to deliver a clean, reliable and competitive fuel to power our economy. The gas network continues to provide flexibility in the renewable energy sector as the primary backup to wind and solar energy. It will play an essential role in facilitating the 40% renewable generation targets by the Irish government for 2020.The gas network in Ireland extends to over 630,000 homes and 24,000 Irish businesses.
However, this could all be threatened given that Ireland’s gas interconnectors with Great Britain provides the gateway to the European gas market.
The Gas Networks Ireland transmission includes onshore Scotland, interconnectors and the Republic of Ireland. The interconnector sub-system comprises of two subsea interconnectors between ROI and Scotland.
Currently, the Moffat interconnection point accounts for 93% of gas demand in Ireland and is by far the dominant supply source. The Moffat Entry Point is an off-take from the Great Britain National Grid gas transmission system, which is located in south west Scotland.
The Corrib gas field is expected to meet approximately 56% of annual Gas Networks Ireland system i.e. 77% of Republic of Ireland demand in its first full year of commercial production (2015/2016) with the Inch and Moffat Entry Points providing the remaining 5% and 39% respectively. However, Gas Networks Ireland has stated that Corrib gas supplies will decline to approximately 50% of initial peak production level thereby re-establishing the Moffat Entry Point as the dominant supply point from 2017/2018.
As country crippled in terms of its energy needs by both its geography and geology, it will be a major blow to competiveness in Ireland, if we are faced with tariffs on the supply we are bringing from a non EU country-Great Britain. The question remains has the Irish Government put contingency plans in place for this worst case scenario ?
Karen Dempsey is a Masters student of Energy Law and Policy LLM at University of Dundee and joint CEO of irishenergy.ie