The company responsible for operating the Northern Ireland electricity grid has outlined plans to transition the province’s power system to green energy.
The System Operator for Northern Ireland’s (SONI), the licensed independent electricity Transmission System Operator, has launched the new corporate plan in the North West in partnership with the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce.
Speaking after the event, Jo Aston, managing director of SONI, said: “We are pleased to have had the opportunity to launch our new strategy to businesses in the North West. SONI is committed to doing all it can to tackle the climate crisis. Our proposals are ambitious but necessary to help reach the UK government’s target of achieving zero net carbon emissions by 2050.
“The North West is host to a significant amount of renewable energy, almost 400 megawatts, that is enough to power one third of all homes in Northern Ireland and that is set to increase in the future.
“It is our job to ensure the power grid can get this clean green energy from where it is produced to where it is needed; this means we will have to upgrade and improve the grid in the North West.
“This will mean a stronger grid, with a more secure supply of electricity; ensuring that local businesses and industry has the power it needs to expand.
“That’s why it is so important to engage with businesses across the North West like we did today.
“Business can play a crucial role in the decarbonisation of our economy and today was a fantastic opportunity to exchange views and ideas with business leaders here.”
Brian McGrath, president, Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, commented: “Our members were eager to hear about how energy can drive the local economy and how SONI plans to reach world-leading levels of renewable energy use over the next five years without passing on the costs to businesses and consumers alike.
“The Chamber recognises that effective collaboration between SONI and business is crucial to help reach its target of making Northern Ireland a world leader in green energy use but also to help businesses here become more cost competitive as a way of attracting further inward investment.”