Utility Regulator comments on ISEM capacity auction outcome

26 January 2018

Following the conclusion of the ISEM capacity auction, run by the Transmission System Operators (TSOs), SONI and EIRGRID, Jenny Pyper said:

“The capacity auction was run by the TSOs and the conclusion of this process marks another significant milestone towards the go-live of the new wholesale electricity market, ISEM, on 23 May.

“SONI has confirmed that sufficient capacity has been secured through the auction to ensure security of supply in Northern Ireland. While NI peak demand is 1760 MW, the auction secured the equivalent of 2000 MW which, in addition to 300 MW from sources secured outside the auction, gives a total of 2300 MW of capacity. 

“We are concerned not only with security of supply but also that consumers only pay for generation that is actually required. Indeed, the auction outcome ensures that there will be savings of around £50 million per annum for Northern Ireland electricity consumers.

“All Northern Ireland generators, including AES, have been successful in the auction. However, some units, whose bids were the most expensive in the auction, were not successful during this competitive process.

“It is important to note that the auction only allocates capacity for the next year.  There will continue to be commercial opportunities for new and existing generators to participate in the market in further auctions later this year. 

“AES have only just notified us that they are seeking early closure of some of their Kilroot plant which was unsuccessful in the auction. This has triggered the Plant Closure Process which is designed to ensure security of supply and the needs of the system continue to be met. We will be working through this process, which includes a detailed review of all system requirements, with AES and the System Operator over the coming weeks.”