Posted on Thursday 26 September 2019 by Ulster Business

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Northern Ireland’s electricity operator has outlined a major £500m five-year investment plan for a green energy system here.

SONI (System Operator for Northern Ireland) has said the five-year plan to transform the power system here will enable it to handle 95% renewable energy at any one time.

This is a significant increase from the current figure of 65% and is said to be a "world leading level, ensuring maximum value from wind and other sources".

To achieve this, it is expected that the amount of renewable energy connected to the grid will need to double by 2030.

At the moment, approximately 1600 MW of renewable energy is connected to the NI power system. SONI managing director Jo Aston said that the strategy was a "direct response to the climate crisis and the UK Government's commitment to zero net carbon emissions by 2050"

To do this we must innovate for the next generation while ensuring today’s electricity users have a reliable, secure and cost-effective supply,” she said. Our strategy is shaped by the rapid evolution of the electricity sector and its aims are reflected in our new statement of purpose; transforming the electricity system for the next generation.”

“To achieve this transformation, it is expected that the amount of renewable energy connected to the grid will need to double by 2030. Currently, approximately 1600 MW of renewable energy is connected to the NI power system.

Noel Lavery, permanent secretary at the Department for the Economy, said: “SONI’s investment in innovative engineering solutions has provided the backbone to bring as much wind energy onto the system in Northern Ireland as possible and helped us reach the recently-reported figure of 44% of Northern Ireland’s electricity being consumed from renewable sources in the past 12 months.

I welcome SONI’s updated strategy for Northern Ireland, ensuring that it continues to strive for best value for money for the Northern Ireland consumer, while helping to tackle climate change.

I also look forward to the ongoing engagement with SONI as a key stakeholder in developing the new ‘energy strategy’ for Northern Ireland.”

 

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