Ireland and the UK have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to ensure the supply of natural gas in the wake of disruption.
The goal of the MoU is to bolster existing processes and enhance collaboration between the two parties and relevant departments to ensure the security of the natural gas supply.
It details how the UK and Ireland will cooperate in the event the supply is reduced or disrupted.
According to RTE, the MoU comes following the circumstance that emerged last year when there were concerns that Ireland would be cut off if the UK encountered gas shortages.
Over 30% of Ireland’s energy requirements, including 50% of its power, are met by natural gas.
Most of the natural gas supply is provided by the UK, and this is anticipated to increase to almost 90% by 2030 as the supply from the Corrib gas field in Ireland dwindles.
Under Ireland’s Net Zero goal, further fossil fuel extraction is prohibited, and nuclear power generation is also illegal.
Currently, Ireland lacks any infrastructure for importing and storing liquefied natural gas (LNG), and such proposals are opposed by environmentalists who claim they would increase reliance on fossil fuels and call for the use of gas from fracking.
The Irish and UK governments also signed an MoU to increase cooperation on developing offshore renewable energy and exploring electricity interconnection avenues.
UK Energy Security Secretary Claire Coutinho said: “As two nations committed to boosting energy resilience and reaching net zero, today marks a historic moment for the UK and Ireland, as we work more closely together to achieve our shared energy goals.
“Today’s landmark agreements will see us deepen our energy partnership with Ireland, to deliver cheaper, cleaner and more secure energy to our homes and businesses, and grow our economies.”
Ireland Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan said: “In future most of our energy needs will be met by renewable electricity, but as we transition natural gas will play a crucial backup role in Ireland’s energy system.
“I welcome the opportunity to reaffirm and strengthen the well-established arrangements and engagement with the UK as we work to enhance the security of energy supply in parallel to decarbonising our economy.”