Two memorandums of understanding signed at the British-Irish Energy Day between Ireland and the UK on Monday aim to increase cooperation in developing offshore renewable energy, explore further electricity interconnection opportunities and enhance the security of gas supplies, according to the Irish government.
“This highlights the benefits of enhanced interconnection, which include increased security of supply, improved wholesale market competition and the possibility to export surplus renewable electricity during times of oversupply,” said Eamon Ryan, the Irish climate minister, who signed the agreements alongside the British secretary of state for energy security Claire Coutinho.
The UK and Ireland are already closely linked regarding their energy supply, including an electricity interconnector that runs under the Irish Sea and gas pipelines that connect the two countries.
“Today’s landmark agreements will see us deepen our energy partnership with Ireland to deliver cheaper, cleaner and more secure energy to our homes and businesses and grow our economies,” said Coutinho.
“The UK continues to lead the world on energy security and reaching net zero, accelerating our deployment of renewables and homegrown supplies of energy while working in collaboration with international partners to tackle climate change,” she added.
It is hoped that further linking the countries will strengthen the security of supply for fossil gas, with the agreement looking at how the UK and Ireland would work together in case of disruption. Meanwhile, working on more electricity interconnection could help lower prices and balance the grid.
Alongside this, the two countries will work on information-sharing to drive forward the green transition, including on low carbon and renewable hydrogen.
“Climate change does not recognise borders, so it is vital that we collaborate with our closest neighbours when it comes to realising the potential of renewable energy to achieve our climate goals and greater energy security,” said Ryan.
“In future, most of our energy needs will be met by renewable electricity, but as we transition, natural gas will play a crucial backup role in Ireland’s energy system,” he added.
Ireland is also working to deepen its energy ties with other countries, including an interconnector with France. Meanwhile, the UK is working on an interconnector with the Netherlands.
(Kira Taylor | EURACTIV.com)
Read more with EURACTIV
Sweden to increase defence budget to meet NATO target