The Electricity Association of Ireland (EAI) has today published a position paper on BREXIT, in which it calls for negotiators to recognise that secure, reliable and safe electricity (and gas) supplies are critical facilitators for economic growth and to focus on identifying the opportunities of benefit to customers. The paper notes that maintaining the Single Electricity Market (SEM) is key to ensuring that the benefits it provides in terms of market efficiencies, cost savings and enhanced security can continue.
The Association, which represents the all-island electricity industry, is particularly keen to avoid the energy sector becoming enmeshed in wider political deal-making given its importance as a sector but more importantly its critical role in social and economic well-being.
The paper lists a number of key principles for any future trading arrangement between the UK and EU. The outcome should ensure that:
- Markets continue to function efficiently and provide appropriate locational signals for investments
- Effective mutual security of supply arrangements to address emergencies are retained
- Customers should not be disadvantaged
- Wider political considerations should not result in sub-optimal treatment of the energy sector.
The optimum solution would be for the UK to continue to participate in the EU’s Internal Energy Market (IEM). Absent this outcome the following is required:
- WTO arrangements for the (tariff-free) trading of energy be applied and extended to electricity
- Energy, climate and environment policy frameworks remain coordinated
- No artificial barriers are created to the retention of the SEM and arrangements for gas
- Mutually supportive gas and electricity security of supply agreements are retained.
The paper also notes that it is not imperative that the European Court of Justice (ECJ) be the arbiter of disputes in the context of future energy trading arrangements.
EAI CEO Owen Wilson, said: “Ireland is unique in Europe in that in addition to wishing to retain free, fair and tariff-free trading of gas and electricity in line with the rest of our European colleagues, we also wish to ensure a framework is delivered that will preserve the Single Electricity Market arrangements on the island and continue the benefits it is delivering for consumers.”
The Association believes the optimum solution would be that the UK continues to participate in the EU’s Internal Energy Market (IEM) and respects the ambition of the Energy Union.