Irish power prices to rise in 2024 while renewables goals hang in the balance

A new report forecasting power prices out to 2030, has shown a jump in short-term prices. The data from Cornwall Insight’s All-Island Power Market Outlook to 2023, predicts prices will rise to nearly €190/MWh for 2024, three times the pre-2021 average.  

The increase in the near-term forecast has been attributed to outages in Norwegian gas production putting pressure on supply and pushing up European gas prices. This could see consumer bills remain high over the next year.

The report paints a more optimistic picture over the long term as the growing presence of renewables pushes down prices. Yet, questions regarding the government’s ability to achieve its ambitious 80% renewables target by the end of the decade could see this all change.

Recent setbacks, notably planning delays for onshore wind and solar, as evidenced in the third Renewable Electricity Support Scheme auction (RESS), which saw only three successful onshore wind projects, have cast shadows over government renewables aspirations. If Ireland fails to increase the energy obtained from each auction until 2030, climate goals could go unrealised and power prices could well be impacted for the worse.

Figure 1: Power price forecasts – average price per fiscal year

Source: Cornwall Insight All-Island Forward Curve

Tom Musker, Modelling Manager at Cornwall Insight:

“This report underscores how exposed Ireland’s energy sector is to fluctuations in global wholesale prices. Irish consumers could see the high cost of power reflected in their energy bills over the next two years, putting further pressure on struggling households and businesses.

“Ireland’s journey towards a cleaner, greener future does leave us more optimistic for the future, yet nothing is inevitable. To realise lower and more stable power prices we need to see increased investment in renewable generation. Ireland is currently falling short of renewables targets and if this continues it will not only not hit climate goals but could also impact energy costs for consumers out to the end of the decade and beyond.

“While we won’t see pre-crisis prices anytime soon, the emergence of a more stable energy future is possible. By prioritising the delivery of sustainable energy resources, we can meet our net zero targets and deliver lower and more predictable energy bills for all.”

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Notes to Editors

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About the Cornwall Insight Group

Cornwall Insight is the pre-eminent provider of research, analysis, consulting and training to businesses and stakeholders engaged in the Australian, Great British, and Irish energy markets. To support our customers, we leverage a powerful combination of analytical capability, a detailed appreciation of regulation codes and policy frameworks, and a practical understanding of how markets function.