NI companies say investment plans will kickstart efforts to achieve net zero goal

  • Leading renewable industry companies, Everun and PAC Group, have welcomed plans for a £3bn investment by NIE Networks (NIEN) to upgrade Northern Ireland’s electricity network.

    The two companies have been calling for urgent developments in the existing grid to enable renewable energy sources to support the 2030 target to have 80% of all the country’s energy needs from renewables.

    Managing director of Everun, Michael Thompson said that for too long the ageing electricity grid had hampered the development of the sector: “In welcoming this investment we now need to see rapid action by the regulator and a full action plan for implementation,” he said. 

    “There is a demand across businesses to develop wind turbines and solar generation, and connectivity to wider renewable sources. NIE Network’s announcement is the first step, and now we need the regulator to press ahead with approval and for the swift progress of the wider energy strategy at NI Executive level.”

    RELATED: Weev reveals Northern Ireland's greenest ultra-rapid EV charging hub

    Under the investment plans, electricity customers will be able to connect with low-carbon technology from NIE Networks lines, pylons and substations.

    Business development director at PAC Group, Darren Leslie, said more and more businesses are not only seeing the need for action on climate change, but the economic benefits of switching to renewable energy. He said: “There are too many obstructions in Northern Ireland at present to have it rolling it out across more and more businesses, not least the planning and application processes and assessment of the grid having the correct infrastructure in place."

    NIE Networks does not generate electricity nor sell power to homes and businesses but warned that the investment could add an additional £10 to £20 a year to bills.

    Mr Thompson said a cross-government approach is needed to address the challenges such as planning that are hindering the country from achieving the climate goals agreed upon. “While pressure on household and business bills should be avoided, this investment will enable NI to take further control of its own energy security and ultimately reduce costs,” he said. 

    RELATED: Catalyst Co-Founders launches with new focus on UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

    “We have a great opportunity to become a powerhouse in the generation and distribution of renewable energy, utilising our preferential location for wind resources and creating thousands of well-paid engineering-based jobs."

    Both Everun and PAC Group have been calling for action on the infrastructure for some time and expressed frustration that the climate change goals may not be met, and will restrict business development.

    Under the investment plan, there will be 1,000 jobs created by NIE Networks. Both Mr Thompson and Mr Leslie believe that the renewables industry will in turn be recruiting more staff in engineering to meet the demands.

    Source: Written from press release

Share this story