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SONI Welcomes Infrastructure Minister’s Decision On Critical North South Interconnector

SONI, the Electricity System Operator for Northern Ireland operates and plans the electricity grid in Northern Ireland. This includes interconnection with neighbouring grids and the wholesale electricity market. We send power from where it is generated to where it is needed, at the most economical price possible.

SONI welcomes the decision by Minister Mallon MLA to approve planning permission for the North South Interconnector, which will be a catalyst for Northern Ireland’s response to climate change, reduce consumer costs and provide a secure long term electricity supply for NI.
The project is a much needed high capacity and resilient link between the electricity grids in Northern Ireland and Ireland and will remove costly blockages on the network. It will allow for the flow of 900 MW of renewable electricity across the border, in both directions, enough to power 600,000 homes on green energy.

Due to its economic, environmental and societal benefits, the North South Interconnector has received strong backing from the Department for the Economy, as well as from business, industry, academia, consumer and third sector organisations.

Commenting on today’s decision from the Infrastructure Minister, SONI MD Jo Aston said:
“We welcome this positive decision from Minister Mallon. The North South Interconnector is undoubtedly the most important infrastructure scheme on the island today and will deliver very real benefits to domestic and commercial consumers.

“The project is, without question, a key enabler for economic growth as Northern Ireland emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic. It will create local construction jobs through its delivery programme; will help reduce the cost of electricity and will provide a route to market for renewable energy at a time when the green collar sector needs it most.

“The North South Interconnector is the safeguard Northern Ireland needs against any changes to surplus or deficit of power generation; providing local business and foreign investors certainty that Northern Ireland offers them a clean, efficient and reliable electricity supply.”
“This vital project has been in the planning system for more than a decade, including extensive consultation and two public inquiries, neither our economy, nor our climate can wait any longer. “Let’s get it done, together.”

Responding to the decision by Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon MLA to approve planning permission for the North-South Electricity Interconnector, Londonderry Chamber Chief Executive Paul Clancy said: “This is a very welcome decision by the Infrastructure Minister which will protect the island’s supply of electricity, drive economic growth, reduce costs for businesses and consumers alike, and aid our green recovery. The North-South Electricity Interconnector is one of the most significant infrastructure projects across the island of Ireland and its potential benefits cannot be understated.

“As the green agenda becomes more and more important for businesses and our society, key decisions like this will be vital to growing our economy sustainably and in a clean, efficient and climate-friendly way and we hope to see the swift roll-out of this scheme.”