The long-planned North South electricity interconnector between the Republic and Northern Ireland would lead to "a more efficient transmission of electricity" on the island of Ireland and lower the costs of generation.

That is according to a new paper from the Economic and Social Research Institute and the Shared Island Unit in the Department of the Taoiseach.

The paper sets out that both the Republic and Northern Ireland now share the same goal for the shared grid to operate on 80% renewable energy by 2030.

It says the North South Interconnector will allow for the planned higher levels of renewable energy to be transmitted across the island.

The paper says that if Northern Ireland and the Republic were to align their policy targets of reaching 80% renewables by 2030, there needs to be more storage facilities.

These are large battery sites which can absorb excess renewable energy and feed it back into the grid when demand increases or the generation of renewables drops.

The paper says "increased storage in Ireland is a robust policy option".

If the renewable targets are shared, the paper finds it could result in a "relatively modest" reduction in total electricity costs of "less than 1%".

However, it notes that according to research a higher level of renewables overall acts to "dampen the price of electricity".

This could reduce electricity prices by 4% across the island.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Senior Research Officer with the ESRI, Dr Muireann Lynch, said the two systems on the island are currently "weakly connected" with some power lines running between the two, but it would be beneficial to be able to strengthen that connection.

"It means that if one jurisdiction has an oversupply of capacity, they're able to transport electricity to the jurisdiction that's maybe under pressure," she explained.

"There are benefits to alignment of renewable targets but those benefits are best realised when there's also extra interconnection in place," she added.

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When asked about possible interruptions to power supply in the coming weeks, Dr Lynch said such interruptions happen when demand is high and renewable supply is low.

She said demand is usually high over Christmas, but they do not know yet what renewable supply will be like.

"But at the moment we're experiencing very cold weather, which is pushing up demand, and we're experiencing very little wind," she said.

She said that reducing demand at the peak in particular would be very useful over these next few weeks, particularly while the cold weather and the low wind lasts.

"If there's anything people can do to shift their energy usage outside of that 5-7pm window, that's still very, very helpful," she said.

"There has been very good cooperation from the large energy users, with Eirgrid in particular, so it seems that they are playing their part and they are prepared to reduce their demand at those peak times if they can," Dr Lynch said.

"But it also helps if people at home can do the same," she added.