The new Single Electricity Market – what it means for Ireland’s large businesses

By Business & Finance
12 December 2018

Tony Dunlea, Manager of Business Markets Sales at Electric Ireland, looks at the implications for Ireland’s businesses that consume large amounts of energy in their operations.


The new Integrated Single Electricity Market (I-SEM) has recently gone live across Europe. This will mean Irish businesses are able to import more energy from 20 different countries in Europe and lead to cheaper electricity bills.

Over the last few weeks the energy supply to Ireland’s businesses has changed dramatically. There is now a freer flow of energy across borders and the electricity powering Ireland’s businesses can come from anywhere in Ireland or mainland Europe.

This is all thanks to the introduction of the I-SEM which has replaced our all-island electricity market. This innovative new market connects power generators and suppliers from 20 countries across Europe, including the island of Ireland. But what does this all mean for Ireland’s businesses that consume large quantities of energy?
The new-pan European wholesale electricity market promises to bring more renewable and low carbon energy online, improve energy supply stability, market efficiency and increase competition—all of which will reward businesses with lower prices.

Data demands

As we move towards a more data-driven society, greater strains will be placed on data storage which demands vast quantities of energy needed to power our factories, data centres and laboratories. EirGrid recently published a report on energy demand in Ireland which shows that data centres could account for approximately one quarter of all electricity demand in Ireland by 2027. As more and more large energy users connect to the electricity grid, Ireland has never had a greater need for better security of energy supply. I-SEM will aim to deliver just that.

Where the old single electricity market utilised a single market auction, the re-designed I-SEM features three markets, each providing alternative buy and sell mechanisms. What this all means is more efficient power generation and purchasing, to create a more balanced and sustainable energy grid across Europe.
The new market will also open up opportunities for a greater penetration of renewable and low carbon technologies on the Irish energy grid, which is something large users of energy in Ireland have been keen to adopt as more focus is placed on sustainable business operations.

Managing risk

While the new markets present new opportunities, all electricity suppliers will face new exposure to risks. “As the market leading energy supplier, Electric Ireland has a wealth of experience and expertise to manage such risks to the benefit of our customers,” says Dunlea.

We would encourage all large energy users to get in touch with their service providers to find out exactly how I-SEM will affect their organisation. As the market leading energy supplier, Electric Ireland has a wealth of experience and expertise to help businesses navigate the market structure.

Electric Ireland is the customer supply division of ESB and is the market leading electricity, gas and energy solutions partner to the business and residential markets in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. As the island’s largest supplier, Electric Ireland offers flexible, affordable and sustainable energy solutions to clients in a variety of sectors, including pharmaceutical, manufacturing, tech, food and hospitality.

To learn more about how I-SEM could affect your organisation, contact Electric Ireland at