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Helping you make sense of the energy and water sectors

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We start this year by looking back. The last 12 months will be remembered as particularly important for the energy markets of Ireland and Northern Ireland, as a series of often-significant changes swept across the sector. The introduction – after some delay – of the Integrated Single Electricity Market (I-SEM) will undoubtedly be the most prominent in the minds of market participants.

However, as this month’s Energy Perspective illustrates, 2018 was a dynamic year that also saw the appointment of Richard Bruton as Energy Minister in Ireland, increased government efforts towards addressing climate change and significant movement in retail prices. We begin January faced with a market in transition. The question, as we highlight, is a transition to where?

Our Policy section is dominated by several developments related to climate change. In December, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton delivered Ireland’s draft National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) to the European Commission. In it, the government highlights Ireland’s achievements to date, as well as those initiatives that have been put in place in order to achieve the much-lauded ambition of making the State a “leader” in addressing climate change. Bruton also used the UN’s COP24 climate change summit to reiterate Ireland’s ambitions and to announce extra funding for climate change initiatives.

In the regulation sphere, the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) and the Utilities Regulator (UR) made announcements with regards to their reviews of gas transmission tariff regimes. While several changes were proposed, it was apparent that they were amendments to the existing arrangements rather than the more significant overhaul that is being considered for GB market arrangements. In December, the CRU also announced that it is consulting on the issue of debt flagging and energy theft, with a decision expected this year.

The publishing of the provisional results of the T-1 Capacity Auction relating to capacity year 2019-20 dominates our Industry Structure section. In the auction, 8,266MW of de-rated capacity was successful, leading us to reason that, while capacity requirements are being met overall, there remains a tight situation in Dublin.

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