Northern Ireland's firms briefed on next generation power plans

  • £500m strategy aims to decarbonise the NI power system to handle world-leading levels of renewable energy.

    Firms from across Northern Ireland were given an insight into SONI’s new five-year strategy to transform the region’s power system at the latest Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) Energy Forum.

    In direct response to the climate crisis, the £500m strategy for decarbonising the NI power system will see structures upgraded to handle world-leading levels of renewable energy, supplied through a combination of wind and solar power.

    Hosted by Allstate NI, the forum gave over 100 businesses, representing both energy users and suppliers, the opportunity to engage directly with the System Operator for Northern Ireland on the plans and how they will impact industry. 

    Other speakers included Chris McAlinden, Group Operations Director at Dale Farm who outlined how the dairy co-operative is leading the way by reducing its carbon footprint and increasing efficiency.

    Richard Rodgers, Head of Energy Group at the Department for the Economy discussed the development of a new energy strategy for Northern Ireland, while Peter Baillie, Managing Director of Energia Renewables updated delegates on plans for an Anaerobic Digestion facility in Giant’s Park – Belfast’s Cleantech Hub.

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    Speaking at the event, SONI Managing Director, Jo Aston said: "Our strategy is focused on ensuring that we have a green energy system ready to handle significantly increasing amounts of renewable energy, the target for which will be set by the Department of the Economy. Leading, shaping and informing the energy transition is our priority; and we know we can’t do this alone.

    "A central goal of our strategy is engagement and our partnership with the Northern Ireland Chamber affords us with the opportunity to discuss our strategy with key business and industry representatives.  We will continue to listen to and respond to the needs of local business as we transform the electricity system for the next generation, while ensuring today’s electricity users have a reliable, secure and cost-effective supply."

    Christopher Morrow, Head of Communications and Policy at NI Chamber added:

    “NI Chamber welcomes SONI’s commitment to decarbonising the NI electricity system. It will ensure that Northern Ireland’s businesses have access to secure, quality, green electricity. However, an ambitious strategy such as SONI’s must also be met with investment in the Northern Ireland grid and the urgent approval of the North South Interconnector.

    "The North South Interconnector is a vital piece of infrastructure that will ensure the effective operation of an efficient all-island electricity market, exert downward pressure on electricity prices for business and domestic consumers throughout Northern Ireland, and utilise renewable energy resources.”

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