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Research from Cornwall Insight highlights the cost of balancing the Irish electricity system has reached a ten-month high. The Imbalance Settlement Price (ISP) in the Single Electricity Market (SEM) has reached a ten-month high of €42.5/MWh throughout September.

The Balancing Market (BM) reflects the actions taken by the transmission system operator to keep the system balanced. These actions determine the Imbalance Settlement Price (ISP) for each of the half-hourly settlement periods across the day.

Joe Camish, an analyst at Cornwall Insight, said: “It will come as no surprise that the BM experienced a notable increase in activity so far this year, in light of the heightened challenges brought by COVID-19.

“The ISP has grown month-on-month over the past six months when looking at the monthly averages. This has largely been driven by periods of undersupply, higher than expected demand or unplanned outages at power stations in the SEM.

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“Despite the steady rise in the ISP, this year has seen fewer instances where the ISP has risen above €100/MWh. This year has seen such events occur in 651 settlement periods, down from 1,379 for the same nine-month period last year.

“Instead, this year has seen a rise in the number of negative pricing events. These have totalled 925 to date, a 40.0% increase year-on-year. This has been driven by increased levels of wind installed on the system, which has supported greater periods of system oversupply. This is most notable during storms or periods of strong wind speeds.

“With another Irish lockdown, it will be interesting to see how this coupled with the winter months will impact activity in the BM going forwards.”

Read more about the analysis.