Ministers to Discuss Future Offshore Grid Infrastructure (UK)

Ministers to Discuss Future Offshore Grid Infrastructure (UK)

Scottish, Irish and Northern Irish ministers will meet later this week to discuss the issues raised in a major study on a future offshore grid infrastructure linking the countries, as well as other areas where the countries have mutual and shared energy, environmental and economic interests.

The tripartite meeting will take place this Wednesday, alongside a major conference on the Irish-Scottish Links on Energy Study (ISLES), an EU INTERREG IV-funded project.

The ISLES study assesses the opportunities, challenges and barriers to developing an offshore grid infrastructure which will deliver greater co-operation and energy trading between the countries.

The study will look at the issues of developing support mechanisms to allow closer integration and trading between energy markets, specifically in the GB-Irish context

Just this week UK Energy Minister Charles Hendry made a speech looking forward to greater cross border cooperation in the development of renewable energy between Great Britain and Ireland.

Energy minister Fergus Ewing has welcomed the study, and Mr Hendry’s comments.

 Mr Ewing said:

 “This study will show the great potential benefits of cooperation between our countries in renewable energy.

 “I welcome Charles Hendry’s comments, which acknowledge the importance of cross-border cooperation between Ireland and the UK, and the huge revenue benefits it could bring.

 “This underlines the case the Scottish Government has been making about moving beyond national territories into a Single European Energy Market and his comments demonstrate Scotland is plugged into an interconnected Europe.

 “Mr Hendry’s speech clearly shows energy from Scotland will have a vital part to play in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Europe, whatever our constitutional future.

 “In reality, as our countries move towards a greater reliance on renewable energy, cross-border cooperation will only increase.”

Key passages from UK Energy Minister Charles Hendry speech include:

 “Movement towards a Single European Energy Market presents a real opportunity for Ireland and the UK to achieve substantial revenue benefits from electricity exports.”

 “In addition to exports, there are other benefits from deeper co-operation and greater energy trading between Britain and Ireland. As trusted friends, with close personal, business and government to government connections, Britain and Ireland can each have confidence in security of supply from the other. Much of Ireland’s gas comes through Britain and we would welcome Irish-generated electricity forming part of Britain’s energy mix. We hope that our open and competitive energy market will make it possible for Irish companies to increase their market presence there in the future. There is clear political commitment behind this co-operation. Some of you may be aware that earlier this year Ministers from the Governments of the United Kingdom, the Northern Ireland Executive, the Irish Republic, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man signed up to co-operate on exploiting the major wind and marine resources in and around the islands.

 “This All Islands Approach to optimise our use of low carbon energy resources around these islands will encourage and enable developers to harness as much of our renewable energy sources as cost-effectively as possible, increasing the integration of our markets, and improving our security of supply.”

 “We are looking at how the UK’s existing and future support mechanisms could be used to support generation outside of the UK and the policy will need to consider and take account of the new mechanisms we are putting in place as part of Electricity Market Reform.”


Offshore WIND staff, November 22, 2011; Image: Statnett