SONI welcomes House of Lords Committee Report on Brexit and Energy Security

29 January 2018

SONI (System Operator for Northern Ireland) welcomes the publication of the House of Lords EU Committee’s report 'Brexit: Energy Security'. The report endorses two key projects currently being developed by SONI; the Integrated Single Electricity Market (I-SEM) and the North South Interconnector.

The I-SEM is a new wholesale electricity market arrangement for the island that comprises multiple markets, each spanning different trading time frames. It is designed to integrate the all-island electricity market with European electricity markets. SONI believes that the future needs of consumers in Northern Ireland are best served by seamless access to the single European electricity market which the I-SEM will deliver; it will also ensure a secure electricity supply for Northern Ireland. 

I-SEM is scheduled to go live in May and the results of its first capacity auction were published on Friday (26 January 2018). This auction for the period May 2018 to September 2019 was a significant first milestone for I-SEM, with 100 bidders in the auction, of which 93 were successful. 

The Utility Regulator in Northern Ireland has estimated that this auction will result in savings to consumers of approximately £50m per year to Northern Ireland.

The House of Lords committee says I-SEM “will benefit both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in terms of energy security, decarbonisation and energy prices. We are encouraged that both the Government and the European Commission recognise its value and are seeking to preserve it.”

The provision of the North South Interconnector is also a very important aspect of delivering a market that works in the best interest of everyone. The project now has planning approval in both jurisdictions, following receipt of planning permission in Northern Ireland last week.

SONI welcomes the House of Lords Committee’s conclusion in relation to the scheme:  “The construction of the North South interconnector on the island of Ireland is vital for reducing consumer costs in both countries, and for maintaining energy security in Northern Ireland.”

Commenting on the report Robin McCormick, SONI General Manager, said:

“The North South Interconnector remains essential for ensuring electricity security for Northern Ireland in the long term and for reducing the cost of electricity and so we welcome the Committee’s findings.

“While Brexit presents challenges, SONI is committed to delivering the new market arrangements (I-SEM) which are in the best interests of both domestic and commercial electricity consumers across Northern Ireland.”