The Commission for the Regulation of Utilities has said amber alerts – of which there have been two on the electricity market this week – mean that the buffer between demand for electricity and supply is smaller than optimum.

The alerts are used when there is a threat to the supply of electricity.

In an online statement, the Single Electricity Market Operator (SEMO), said the reason given for the amber alerts is a generation shortfall in Ireland.

EirGrid said the alert was issued due to forced outages at a number of generators, low wind generation and limited electricity imports.

Commissioner Jim Gannon told RTÉ's Morning Ireland that the alerts provide notice that EirGrid and the wider electricity sector can take some pre-planned actions to protect the integrity of the grid and prevent loss of supply.

He explained that although people may not expect it in the summer, there are often times of tighter margins.

"Over the past couple of days, what we have seen is a number of forced or unexpected outages to generators and to interconnection," he said.

"But also a very low wind period and I think what we've seen over the past number of days, again in the past 24 hours, is a return to service of many of those generators and also back to full interconnection, which means the outlook is far more positive."

Mr Gannon added that it is important to note that they will likely see a raised number of amber alerts over the next number of years as they meet carbon targets and respond to short-term challenges around security supply.

"What Eirgrid and industry do is during the summer times they make sure that all of the necessary works are completed to be winter ready, and this is something that's conducted annually every year to make sure that the system is ready and that the generators are ready," he said.

"So, this is nothing strange. This is nothing different, it was just there were a couple of unexpected outages that had us enter a number or amber alert state that again allowed preplanned actions to be taken place to maintain integrity."

Mr Gannon added that coming into this winter and acknowledging some of the risks that are out there and under the programme of works that are in place, there are other measures being taken to ensure that we can secure security of supply.

These include optimising the batteries that they have to get even more out of them in times of stress and pressure, working with demand-side units to make sure they can have industry turned down and be rewarded appropriately for turning down their demand at times of system stress.

He said that the commission is also working with larger electricity demand users to work with industry who have backup generation to make sure that there is no loss of supply.

Mr Gannon said that additional risks are being recognised, but mitigations are being put in place, not just for the short term, but also for the longer term.

He said outages are a worry every year whether it is from storm damage or whether it is from generation adequacy concerns.

But, he said, they are entering a period of tight generation where they transition from older, heavier fossil fuels generation to wind and there will be a number of tight winters over the coming years.

"Despite those tight margins we are working on a range of options to make sure that, as with last winter where we had tight margins, there is retention of that supply and that we don't see any loss of supply to consumers," he added.