European Integration

The EU aims to fully integrate national energy markets in order to give consumers and businesses improved products and services, to increase competition and to provide better security of supply. EU legislation and new rules for the electricity market and grid operation make this possible.

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Policy and Integration

The European Union has adopted an Energy Union Framework Strategy which targets five key policy areas:

  • Supply security
  • A fully integrated internal energy market
  • Energy efficiency
  • Climate action
  • Research and innovation

To achieve these goals will require a transformation of Europe's electricity system, including investment in infrastructure that connects the electricity networks together and the creation of a single European electricity market. This will make energy flow more easily, improve energy security, lessen the dependency on imports and prepare networks for increasing levels of renewable energy.

The 2020 Energy Strategy defines the EU's energy priorities between 2010 and 2020. It aims to:

  • Reduce greenhouse gases by at least 20%, as compared to 1990 levels;
  • Increase the share of renewable energy in the EU's energy mix to at least 20% of consumption; and
  • Improve energy efficiency by at least 20%.

With an ever increasing amount of renewable energy and plans for further interconnection, Ireland and Northern Ireland are well on their way to meeting these objectives. As we look to the future, more work will have to be done to achieve the agreed EU objectives for 2030 and beyond. These include:

  • At least a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared to 1990 levels;
  • At least 27% of renewable energy;
  • An energy efficiency increase of at least 27%, to be reviewed by 2020 potentially raising the target to 30%, by 2030; and
  • Electricity interconnection of at least 15% between EU countries by 2030.

We fully support the transition to a low-carbon, secure and competitive economy; however as a small island system, it is important for Ireland and Northern Ireland that our unique characteristics are recognised. To achieve the objectives above we are developing opportunities for further interconnection to Great Britain and France and we maintain a central role in the development of the new rules for operating the electricity grid.

Network Codes

Europe’s electricity networks are currently operated according to national rules that govern the actions of operators and determine how access is given to users. The European Union is adopting a common set of rules, commonly known as Network Codes. Read more about how EirGrid is working to implement them here.

The Third Package

One of the most important pieces of EU legislation on European energy markets is referred to as the Third Package. The main aim of the Third Package, which came into force on 3 September 2009, is to further liberalise European energy markets. Three core provisions of the Third Package are:

  • To ensure that Transmission System Operators (TSOs) are unbundled (or independent) from generation, production and suppliers, therefore removing any conflict of interest;
  • To develop cooperation between TSOs through the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E); and
  • To create a regulatory framework to support a single, European Electricity Market, through the development of European Network Codes.

European Associations

We are a member and play an active role in the following European associations:

ENTSO-E - European Network of Transmission System Operators, represents 41 electricity transmission system operators (TSOs) from 34 countries across Europe. ENTSO-E promotes closer cooperation across Europe’s TSOs to support the implementation of EU energy policy and achieve Europe’s energy & climate policy objectives.

EUROPEX - A not-for-profit association of European energy exchanges that represents the interests of the exchange based wholesale markets for electrical energy, gas and environmental markets.