Northern Ireland

Special status for NI electricity market post Brexit?

A single electricity market operates across the island of Ireland Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A single electricity market operates across the island of Ireland

The UK government may wish to seek "special status" for Northern Ireland's electricity market after Brexit, a group of MPs has said.

A single electricity market operates across the island of Ireland.

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee says Brexit "potentially challenges the future viability" of that arrangement.

The all-island market is possible because the UK and Ireland are both members of the Internal Energy Market (IEM).

All EU members participate in the IEM along with Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein.

Participation requires alignment with EU rules including industrial emissions regulations and restrictions on state aid.

The UK government will have to decide whether to remain in the IEM, withdraw entirely or negotiate a new bilateral relationship.

The NIAC says the government "should give particular consideration" to how any changes to the UK's relationship with the IEM will affect Northern Ireland.

It says withdrawal would be significant for Northern Ireland as a smaller, less efficient market would likely mean higher electricity costs.

It adds that the government "may wish to seek a special status or derogation" for Northern Ireland.

It calls for long-term policy clarity as soon as possible.

The NIAC inquiry heard there is "a clear desire from electricity market stakeholders in Northern Ireland to retain the existing market arrangements".

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