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New proposals for cross-border co-operation on energy

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Innovative 'ISLES' study reaches conclusion

Dublin, 18 September 2015

A suite of detailed reports has been published today concerning the coordinated development of offshore electricity grid and marine renewable energy projects between the jurisdictions of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland.

 The Irish-Scottish Links on Energy Study (ISLES) is a joint initiative between the three partner governments of Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland, and publication marks completion of the second phase of the ISLES project.

 The ISLES project has examined the opportunities for a more strategic approach to connecting future offshore wind, wave and tidal generation projects in the partner jurisdictions.  Co-funded by the European Union's INTERREG IVA Programme and the project partner governments, ISLES II 'Towards Implementation' has produced the following key outputs:


  • a cross jurisdictional Spatial Plan providing locational marine guidance to potential developers;
  • a recommended regulatory model that outlines principles for arrangements to facilitate efficient coordination of development; and,
  • an ISLES business plan that proposes an overarching governance framework, through which future development might be supported.

The main recommendations of ISLES have key implications for governments, regulators and industry at national and EU level.  The ISLES partners consider that the study will contribute to understanding at jurisdictional and EU levels of the challenges and opportunities for enhanced cross-border cooperation on renewables and grid development.

Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said:

"The ISLES project has been an excellent example of cooperation between Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland.  Between us we have some of the best offshore renewable energy resources anywhere in the world, but market and regulatory challenges have acted as a barrier to development. 

"The ISLES II study makes some compelling recommendations for overcoming these barriers and will require wider support at national and EU level to be fully effective.  The Scottish Government will continue to promote the findings of the ISLES project to UK and EU authorities, and to do everything we can to realise Scotland's vast renewable energy potential.

Alex White the Irish Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources,

"This project offers the prospect of minimising the infrastructure required for connecting offshore marine renewable energy projects in our respective waters. It has been an excellent example of effective collaboration. The Irish Government will continue its support for this work, which has attracted wide interest across Europe. Its value to citizens, consumers and business will become more and more evident over the coming years."

 Gina McIntyre, Chief Executive (Designate) of the Special EU Programmes Body, which is responsible for managing the European Union's INTERREG IVA Programme, said:

"One of the aims of the INTERREG IVA Programme is to address some of the environmental protection issues which effect all Member States, such as the need to reduce CO2 emissions under the Kyoto agreement.

"The ISLES project has contributed to meeting this objective by exploring the potential for cross-border offshore renewable energy production between Northern Ireland, Border Region of Ireland and Western Scotland.

"The collaborative approach undertaken by the project partners also highlights how the sharing of knowledge and experience across different regions can create meaningful results, which is the overarching objective of the INTERREG IVA Programme."


Notes to Editor:

For more information on ISLES II please visit

The Scottish Government, the lead administrative partner for the ISLES project. The other partners are

  • Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment (DETI), Northern Ireland
  • Department of Communications Energy and Natural Resources (DCENR) Ireland

The ISLES II work-streams and consultants

  • ISLES Spatial Plan – AECOM and APBmer
  • Network Regulation and Market Alignment Study – Pöyry UK and Energy Link
  • ISLES II Business Plan – Baringa, Source Low Carbon LLP and Bellenden

The Special EU Programmes Body is a North/South Implementation Body sponsored by the Department of Finance and Personnel in Northern Ireland and the Department of Finance in Ireland. It is responsible for managing two EU structural funds Programmes PEACE III and INTERREG IVA designed to enhance cross-border co-operation, promote reconciliation and create a more peaceful and prosperous society. 

 For more information on the SEUPB please visit



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