Final Capacity Auction Results confirm SSE generation contracts

The Single Electricity Market Operator in Ireland has published the final results of the latest capacity auction, which ran at the end of December last year.

These confirm the provisional results issued on 21 December last in which all units at SSE Generation’s four thermal generation plants operating in Ireland’s all-island electricity market, as well as wind turbine units operating at four SSE Airtricity renewable generation sites, secured new Capacity Contracts to provide power to customers through to 2020.

SSE’s thermal fleet already holds generation capacity contracts up to September 2019, which SSE successfully won in the first-ever Capacity Auction process which took place this time last year. These latest contracts run for the 12 months from October 2019 to September 2020.

Confirming the final auction results, Ireland’s System Operator said the latest auction performed as expected, delivering capacity to the island’s wholesale electricity market at the least possible cost.

Of the 105 generating units that qualified to take part in the auction, 100 submitted offers and 95 were successful. These included SSE’s Great Island CCGT plant (402MW) in Wexford, the Tarbert power plant (510MW) in Kerry, and two smaller peaker plants at Rhode in Offaly and Tawnaghmore in Mayo (96MW each)*, all of which secured new contracts out to September 2020. Additionally, SSE Airtricity won contracts for 12MW of wind generation at the Cuillagh (1.2MW) and Meentycat (7.3MW) wind farms in Donegal, the Gartnaneane (1.1MW) wind farm in Cavan, and the Kingsmountain (2.5MW) wind farm in Sligo.

A total of €345 million of capacity payments will be paid during the period October 2019 to September 2020. Prior to the introduction of the auction process in 2017, annual capacity payments averaged in the region of €550 million.

An additional 492 megawatts (MW) of capacity was secured in this auction, at a reduced price of €41,719 per MW per year (down from €42,774 per MW in the previous auction).  The additional capacity is required to meet an increase in demand triggered by economic growth.

The auction was designed by the electricity regulators in Northern Ireland and Ireland to ensure sufficient capacity is secured to meet demand across the island at all times. 

The auction was run by the Single Electricity Market Operator, a joint venture between EirGrid and SONI (System Operator for Northern Ireland).


* A de-rating factor is applied to each station according to rules set by the System Operators and approved by the Regulatory Authorities.