The European Commission (EC) moved from the Single European Act and issued a document on “internal energy market” (EU,1988) as a legislative basis in the 1990s that concentrated on an integrated energy market that is competitive but also reduces the cost for the consumer.
Additional Electricity Directives aimed at lining up common set of rules which national governments had to transfer into their national legislation. The directives in 1996, 2003 and 2009 slowly but surely liberalised national electricity markets. The aim was to facilitate increased cross border trading through specific rules encouraging non-discriminatory access to interconnector capacity. The new legislation for national market rules being introduced reduced the entry barriers into national markets.
To facilitate an integrated EU energy market, the EC had drawn up a list of key energy infrastructure projects, these are known as projects of common interest (PCIs). These infrastructure projects are vital to enable the EU to achieve its energy policy objectives of a secure, affordable and sustainable energy market. To advance projects implementation, while attracting private investment the PCIs could benefit from access to financial support from Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), and accelerated permit granting. To have a better understating of I-SEM, a review of the Irish SEM and how it changed the landscape of the energy market on the Island of Ireland, as prior to SEM Ireland was divided into two distinct electricity markets.