IRELAND and the UK have agreed to work together to achieve shared energy goals as both nations seek to meet ambitious net zero targets.
The nations signed two new energy cooperation agreements this week which are set to secure their energy supplies while supporting their climate-conscious objectives.
Two new Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) were signed yesterday, by Ireland’s Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan and the UK Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, Claire Coutinho.
The first MoU on ‘Cooperation in the Energy Transition, Offshore Renewables and Electricity Interconnection’ will see increased cooperation between the nations on opportunities for further electrical interconnection between the islands.
The second MoU, on ‘Cooperation for Natural Gas Security of Supply’, highlights the "increasingly constructive" energy relationship between the countries, but seeks to “strengthen established practices and cooperation between the two States and relevant Departments on the security of natural gas supply”.
The MoU also outlines how the two states will work together in the event of a reduction or disruption of supply, while highlighting that “electricity interconnectors enable electricity trading between countries and this trade will play a vital role in our shared energy future”.
Among further opportunities to be explored under the new agreements is the “feasibility of a joint multipurpose interconnector project”, the agreement states.
Information-sharing between Ireland and the UK on the transition to renewable energy and deployment of onshore and offshore renewable energy, will also increase under the new agreements.
"Climate change does not recognise borders so it is vital that we work in collaboration with our closest neighbours when it comes to realising the potential of renewable energy to achieve our climate goals and greater energy security,” Minister Ryan explained.
“Increased levels of cooperation regarding offshore renewable energy, offshore grids and enhanced interconnection is both productive and timely for Ireland because the UK’s status as the global leader in the development of offshore renewable energy, and Ireland’s considerable offshore renewable resource.”
He added: "The UK is Ireland’s closest and one of our most important energy partners.
“Ireland will therefore benefit significantly from plans to explore development of further interconnection between our all-island electricity market and Great Britain.
“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.”
Ms Coutinho has also welcomed the agreements this week.
"As two nations committed to boosting energy resilience and reaching net zero, today marks a historic moment for the UK and Ireland, as we work more closely together to achieve our shared energy goals,” she said.
"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.
"These 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."