On 28 June 2012 the London Irish Business Society, in conjunction with the Embassy of Ireland, hosted a panel discussion on European Energy Integration and the opportunities this provides for Ireland.
The guest speakers on the evening included Dr Brain Motherway, CEO of Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, Ms Caoimhe Gilbin, Director of Finance at SSE Renewables, Mr Tim Abraham, Head of European Energy Policy at the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and Dr Konrad Mizzi, Energy Policy Advisor, election candidate with the Labour Party & Energy Partner at PCubed. The panel was chaired by Fiona Harvey, Environment Correspondent at The Guardian newspaper.
Dr Mizzi emphasised the need for closer cooperation across the EU on Energy policy. Dr Mizzi argued that every country should always retain autonomy in deciding on generation equipment deployed. However the deployment of Gas infrastructures and Power Interconnectors, which were referred by Dr Mizzi as “Energy Bridges” as they symbolise closer integration, should in his opinion be a European priority. Such infrastructures within Europe will help island states such as Malta develop an electricity generation mix which reflects local conditions. Dr Mizzi identified new options and ideas which should be considered by the EU to build on those put forward by the EU in its third energy package.
Dr Mizzi argued that no European member state should be left without option of reliable and clean sources of supply. He emphasised that island states should be supported and incentivised to develop robust Gas Infrastructure and Power Interconnectors. Such a policy will address both market failure and competitiveness issues.
Dr Mizzi also discussed the current European framework for power interconnectors in Europe. Mizzi stressed that European energy policy must do more to ensure that electricity flows reflect pricing considerations in the same way that trade flows between countries.
Dr Mizzi argued that European Energy policy should evolve to support the needs of island states. More specifically Mizzi proposed the idea that interconnectors should be considered as European shared infrastructure and funded as such. This would be a step change from current practice where such infrastructure is either funded by an investor or the national transmission company with part-funding from the EU. Dr Mizzi urged island states, large and small to work together to pursue their joint interests.
The event was hosted in the Embassy of Ireland, London. Over 100 Irish Professionals from a range of industries attended from all over London to ensure a full house on a very successful and informative evening. The event was followed by a networking session within the Embassy.
Photo: From left to right: Dr Konrad Mizzi, Tim Abraham, Fiona Harvey, Caoimhe Giblin, Dr Brian Motherway