NSCOGI to have enhanced role in Energy Union – Irish participation essential

NSCOGI (Northern Seas Countries Offshore Grid Initiative) is a regional cooperation agreement between countries surrounding the Irish Sea and the North Sea (together the “Northern Seas” as proposed by the then Minister Eamon Ryan). NSCOGI has been in existence for several years and is administered on behalf of the signatories by the Benelux Secretariat. The original declaration can be viewed here >>

It is one of several proposals for an EU-wide enhanced electricity network all of which aim to both increase efficiency of currently separate EU electricity markets and to allow large scale deployment of interconnected offshore wind in the Northern Seas. Vice President Maroš Šefčovič has now identified NSCOGI as a tool of Energy Union which is a very welcome development. However, there is a danger that with the inevitable NSCOGI focus on the North Sea, the Irish Sea could be left behind. If this happens, Ireland will miss out on a very important economic development. DCENR, as Ireland’s NSCOGI representative, must be very vigilant to ensure that the proposal does not focus entirely on the North Sea and that it ensures an opportunity for export of offshore wind from Ireland. With that in mind, NSCOGI should benefit from the involvement of senior Irish civil servants. Eamon Ryan has written a summary note of a recent NSCOGI conference held at Ostende where he attended as a senior associate with the consultancy E3G. NOW Ireland (www.nowireland.ie) represented the Irish offshore wind industry. There were no other Irish participants. View Eamon’s summary here >>