The Irish-Scottish Links on Energy Study (ISLES) is a major initiative designed to enable the development of interconnected grid networks to enhance the integration of marine renewable energy between Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland.
Each of the three partner administrations has significant potential for offshore wind, wave and tidal energy generation. However, planning and licensing, market and regulatory complexities between the three jurisdictions act as a potential challenge to joint development. ISLES is designed to smooth the pathway to future development of high-quality, efficient, renewable energy developments.
The Irish Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) is lead administrative partner for ISLES in collaboration with the Scottish Government and the Department of the Economy in Northern Ireland. The objective of ISLES was to investigate the feasibility of an offshore interconnected grid, and identify steps to reducing barriers to delivering this grid. The first phase of this project - ISLES I - was completed between 2010 and 2012 and produced a feasibility study. The second phase - ISLES II - was completed in June 2015 and comprised three research streams:
- Spatial Plan and Sustainability Appraisal,
- Network Regulation and Market Alignment Study, and
- Business Plan
The project was part financed under the European Union’s INTERREG IVA Programme for Northern Ireland, the Border Region of Ireland and Western Scotland with the partners providing the match-funding.