Understanding the evolution of the Irish electricity markets

The Irish electricity sector has undergone significant change in recent years. The Integrated Single Electricity Market (I-SEM) arrangements introduced in 2018 fundamentally transformed the market framework to maximise competition, facilitate electricity wholesale trading, and incentivise the development of low-carbon generation sources.

In parallel the physical system continues to evolve rapidly. Although gas fired generation currently remains the largest source of electricity generation, renewable electricity accounted for over 40% of generation in 2022, with wind power being the largest contributor by far.

To meet climate emissions targets, the expectation is that by 2030 renewable electricity should account for 80% of all electricity generated, with 9GW of onshore wind, at least 5GW of offshore wind and 8GW of solar capacity installed by that date. Renewable generation capacity presently stands at around 5GW in total.

The build out of new renewables is also set against the need to ensure security of supply as dispatchable plant, to maintain supply and demand as a higher proportion of generation comes from intermittent sources, across the island comes to the end of its operational life. Over 30% of fossil fuel generation is over 30 years of age, with just 0.5GW under 10 years old.

Another key element of the I-SEM system is interconnection with neighbouring markets, to allow excess generation to be exported and for power to be imported when needed. At present the I-SEM is only physically linked via two interconnectors to the GB electricity system, although the new Celtic Interconnector will connect to France and mean that the Irish market will be physically linked to the EU market in 2026. A third interconnector to GB, between County Wexford and Pembrokeshire in Wales is also under construction and should be completed in 2024.

Over the remainder of this decade, and beyond, the demand for electricity is expected to rise as more of the economy is electrified (e.g., transport and some heating) and large energy users, including data centres, grow.

To help explain how the Irish SEM electricity markets operate Cornwall Insight Ireland is offering its new Introduction to Irish Electricity Markets online training course on 10 and 11 May. The sessions, each two hours in length beginning at 10am, is designed for anyone starting their career in the Irish energy markets, those supporting and advising the market, or needing a refresher.

Our experts will explain the structure, key players and authorities in the I-SEM and how the retail and wholesale markets operate, and key policy programmes aimed at decarbonising the sector. We also delve into the I-SEM competitive trading arrangements and role of System Operation to ensure supply and demand is balanced.

The online session delivers a mix of lecture-style learning, case studies and worked examples to reinforce learning. Delegates will receive soft copies of the materials presented by our market experts.

More information, including booking a place for €400 and downloading an agenda, can be found on our website.

Learning and development objectives

  • How the electricity markets are structured and the role of key market authorities
  • How competitive electricity markets are designed to deliver good consumer outcomes
  • How energy policy programmes are designed to decarbonise the sector and how costs are recovered from customers
  • Who the key players in the retail and wholesale markets are
  • Where we get our gas and electricity from and implications for market prices
  • The principles for regulating energy networks and how these flow through to charges for users
Advert for our Introduction to Irish electricity markets course. Learn more by emailing training@cornwall-insight.com

Related thinking

Net zero corporates and ESG

Help us understand your business decarbonisation challenges

Are you a large business impacted by the challenge of increasing energy costs and decarbonisation targets? If the answer is yes, then we’d love your help to find out more about the challenges you are facing. We recently published an insight paper on the challenging economic climate that businesses are...

Regulation and policy

Our response to the Spring Budget

Once again, a UK budget has seen some significant energy policy announcements that will stir up conversation and opinion across the country. It also shows how reining in energy prices is seen as key to restraining inflation. The pre-budget announcement to maintain the Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) at £2,500 had...

Home supply and services

Our response to the publication of the REMA consultation summary

On 7th March the government published the summary of responses received from its Review of Electricity Market Arrangements (REMA) consultation. The responses received showed the industry has expressed strong support (92% agreement) for energy market reform that prioritises decarbonisation, security of supply, and cost-effectiveness. Respondents also agreed that the current...

Energy storage and flexibility

Waiting to connect: the problems and solutions for network connection queues (Part 2)

Network connection queues continue to be a notable topic of interest as many generators face significant delays to project development – an issue that is directly conflicting with net zero ambitions and recent focuses on strengthening domestic energy supplies. In Part 1 of our two-part series on connection queues we...

Home supply and services

Our response to the announcement of the April price cap

The predictions for the Default Tariff Cap in this piece are out of date, please click here to find our latest forecasts and commentary on the cap. Following the announcement by Ofgem that April’s Default Tariff Cap (price cap) will fall to an average £3,280 per year, nearly a £1,000 drop for...

Net zero corporates and ESG

Energy Net Zero: Giving you more of ‘Watt’ you need

It is no surprise that economic conditions in the UK complicate the ambitions of businesses when it comes to achieving their decarbonisation goals. But in a paper our research team released earlier this year, we found that despite increasing financial demands, net-zero targets remain a priority for many businesses. That...

Home supply and services

Our final forecast for the April price cap

The predictions for the Default Tariff Cap in this piece are out of date, please click here to find our latest forecasts and commentary on the cap. We have released the final prediction for the April Default Tariff Cap (price cap) following the closure of the observation window1, on 17 February. We...


Cornwall Insight named one of the FT’s Leading Management Consultants

We are delighted to announce that Cornwall Insight has been named one of the Financial Times’ leading management consultants in energy, utilities & environment. Following two Statista surveys which reviewed feedback from our clients and our peers in Consulting, we achieved a bronze award recognising the strong relationships we have...