I-SEM – How high can prices go?

On the 24th January 2019 we saw I-SEM prices reach €3,773.69/MWh, the largest spike in the electricity price that I-SEM has seen since going live in October last year. Kim Scullion from our Origination team provides a short overview of the market drivers for this unusual price event.

What happened?
Gas Plant offline
On the 24th January the System Operator in Northern Ireland issued an Amber Alert. An Amber Alert indicates that the Margin (the difference between demand and generation) is extremely tight. One reason for this was that a large gas plant in Northern Ireland was offline.
Low Wind in Northern Ireland
At the same time there was very low levels of wind generation in Northern Ireland (approx. 11MW).
High Wind in Republic of Ireland
Unusually, at the same time there was low winds in Northern Ireland, there was very high levels of wind generation in the Republic of Ireland (approx. 2,400MW).
North South Interconnector full
The North South Interconnector was full, exporting from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland. Therefore, no plants in the Republic of Ireland could set the price for meeting the demand in Northern Ireland and subsequently the demand in I-SEM.
Moyle Interconnector exporting
The Moyle Interconnector is scheduled before real time (day ahead) and was therefore exporting power from Northern Ireland to Great Britain, which had higher prices at the Day Ahead stage.
High price for “constrained on” generation
So, although generators in the Republic of Ireland were offering relatively low prices to generate into the I-SEM market the System Operator was forced to call on plant in Northern Ireland that had offered to generate at very high prices in order to meet demand in Northern Ireland and ultimately the demand in ISEM.
High Imbalance Price
The Imbalance Price for the half hour 1pm to 1.30pm was set at €3,773.69/MWh, the highest Imbalance price seen in the I-SEM to date.

We have issued a market update directly to any of our counterparts under contract with us but if you require further information please contact one of the Origination team.

Return to blog