Established in 2010 the Irish-Scottish Links on Energy Study (ISLES) project represents an inter-governmental collaboration between Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland. The Scottish Government serves as lead partner for the project that is part-funded under the European Union’s INTERREG IVA Programme.
ISLES aims to facilitate and stimulate investment in an offshore transmission network to support the integration of renewable energy resources and further interconnection in the ISLES zone. The project partners are aware that several market and regulatory barriers remain to be overcome if they are to realise the significant renewables potential in their jurisdictions. This joint collaboration through ISLES is therefore viewed as welcome and mutually beneficial.
The initial ISLES feasibility study completed in 2012 proved the potential for the ISLES concept. An important subsequent milestone was the European Commission’s approval in October 2013 of ISLES as one of 248 priority EU ‘Projects of Common Interest’ (PCIs) under the new Trans-European Energy Networks Regulation (TEN-E).
The second phase of ISLES underway since late 2013 aims to move the concept of an offshore network towards implementation through the completion of three key work-streams delivered by appointed consultants: (i) marine spatial planning, (ii) network regulation and market alignment, and (iii) an ISLES Zone business plan. The project partners and consultants have been working closely with a range of stakeholders and policymakers at regional, national and EU levels and the outputs of ISLES II will be disseminated when the project completes in the summer of 2015 via the www.islesproject.eu website and other communication channels including conferences and events.