Energy Policy Research Centre (EPRC)

The Energy Policy Research Centre (EPRC) is a multi-annual research programme focusing on economic and policy issues across the energy spectrum. The Centre was established in the early 1990s and is funded by ESB, Eirgrid, Commission for Regulation of Utilities, Energia, Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Gas Networks Ireland & SSE Group. The research focus of the EPRC is driven by discussion in twice annual steering meetings; on topics where the ESRI has an expertise or capacity to undertake the research; and where sufficient data to enable research is available. At any one time there are multiple research projects underway at various stages of completion. The overarching research objective of the EPRC can be described as analysing interdependencies and interactions in energy systems targeted at a better understanding and enhanced decision making in those systems.

Currently, research activities are structured in four topics:

1. Market Design and Regulation Research in this topic may include the redesign of the Irish Single Electricity Market and the challenges for Ireland. Moreover, we focus on market power and competition as well as retail market design.

2. Energy Services Research in this topic focuses on the relationship between energy service providers and customers (which is based on the principle of ‘value co-creation’). This may include the exploration of customer needs and preferences as well as the analysis of energy efficiency and end use, incl. the diffusion of distributed renewable energy sources (RES) and smart grid technologies making consumers more active participants in the energy system. Research also includes behavioural aspects of technology adoption and energy use and tariff acceptance.

3. Energy Infrastructure In this topic, research may be concerned with the economic implications of expansion and integration of (physical) infrastructures of an energy system and of their interaction with energy markets (e.g., interconnector upgrades between Ireland and continental Europe or across Europe).

4. Interface with Society & Environment Research under this topic may include the analysis of distributional implications as well as impact assessment of regulatory or technological changes for the environment (particularly emission abatement) or the wider economy. Moreover, research under this topic includes public acceptance of energy technologies.