In a recommendation paper on Irish energy policy, the economic think-tank said diversification opportunities should be studied by government and industry stakeholders and costs and benefits should be clearly identified. It added while Ireland has access to gas from the Corrib field, the Moffat gas interconnector, linking the UK to Ireland, will likely be the dominant source of gas supply to Ireland by as early as next year.
ESRI research officer Muireann Lynch said policymakers should “exercise caution” in determining new energy priorities.
“While Brexit will certainly impact on the policy landscape, there are many opportunities for improving Irish energy policy that should be addressed regardless of Brexit. These include a thorough cost-benefit analysis of new infrastructural projects - such as gas and electricity interconnection - efficient renewable energy policies and increasing competition and value for money in energy markets,” she said.
“Policymakers should not focus, to an excessive degree, on the real or perceived threats of Brexit while potentially ignoring other pressing issues,” Ms Lynch added.
The ESRI also said there may be an argument for shifting the deployment of renewable energy from “the relatively small electricity sector to the larger sectors of heat and transport, which are heavily reliant on fossil fuels.”
The think-tank said the North-South electricity interconnector is a “critical” piece of infrastructure which will reduce prices for consumers and ensure secure electricity supply in the North.