Ireland freezes power exports to UK as energy costs rocket tenfold – Telegraph.co.uk

Ireland has been forced to freeze power exports to the UK to prevent a shortage which could have sparked blackouts as surging energy prices continue to cause chaos across Europe.

A toxic combination of low wind speeds and a severe squeeze on the supply of natural gas sent power costs jumping tenfold on the British mainland on Thursday to as much as £2,300 per megawatt-hour, a new record high.

It came as transmission was halted on the Moyle interconnector, which sends electricity from Northern Ireland to Scotland.

Mutual Energy, which owns and operates the undersea cable, said that flows had been stopped for “operational security reasons due to generation shortfall in the all-Ireland single electricity market”.

Ireland’s Single Electricity Market Operator had issued an amber warning on Thursday morning, alerting the public to a “general shortfall” of electricity which could result in power cuts. 

The cost of energy has been spiralling across Europe, due in part to calm weather which has drastically reduced the availability of renewable power.

In the UK, which relies on wind for around a fifth of its electricity throughout the year, prices rocketed to hit a high of £2,300 per megawatt-hour by the afternoon – ten times higher than they were earlier in the morning, according to Bloomberg figures.

The spiralling prices will prompt further concern among officials who were earlier this week forced to fire up coal-based plants in an effort to cope with tight supplies.

In Spain, day-ahead electricity prices hit a record €152.32 a megawatt-hour according to Bloomberg. In France, the benchmark power price for delivery next year was at a record €99.50.

The halt in exports from Ireland comes just days after the UK was hampered by technical problems with a trading platform in Europe, which threatened a risky surge of power.

Britain was forced to ask France to stop sending as much electricity last weekend, after traders buying and selling power across borders around Europe were temporarily unable to book trades, risking too much electricity coming into Britain.

This could have caused power cuts, as supply and demand of electricity has to be precisely matched and the frequency of the system needs to be kept at 50Hz. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *