SONI is responsible for connections to the transmission system. Some aspects of the connection process are harmonised with the TSO in Ireland in line with previous SEM Committee decisions, however given differences in the legal framework between the two jurisdictions, some elements of the connection process are specific to Northern Ireland.
SONI keeps its connection policies under review to ensure they remain appropriate. Parties connecting to the distribution system may also require access to the transmission system; we therefore also work closely with NIE Networks who are responsible for the connections to the distribution system in Northern Ireland.
SONI is responsible for connections to the transmission system in Northern Ireland. We are required by the Electricity (Northern Ireland) Order 1992 to develop the transmission system in an economic, efficient and coordinated manner. Our licence prohibits undue discrimination against any party of class of parties.
The Department for the Economy is currently developing an energy strategy for Northern Ireland for 2030 and beyond.
New interconnection to other balancing zones may factor in the future energy mix for Northern Ireland
SONI has reviewed its connection policy to ensure that this remains appropriate for this class of connectee. This review has shown that the current conditions precedent for accepting a transmission connection offer could potentially be considered to be ambiguous and potentially interpreted as being more onerous for a new merchant interconnector than for other connecting customers.
In this paper we set out the principles that underpin SONI’s current connection policy and seek comments on the milestones in the process of the development of an interconnector project that could potentially be used as the relevant consent for an interconnector to accept a transmission connection offer and applied to ensure a new interconnector would enter the overall onshore transmission network planning processes at a stage where SONI would not be compromising its duty to plan the transmission system in an economic, efficient and coordinated manner.
Views and comments are invited on all aspects of this document. Responses to the consultation should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by 19 February 2021.
You can find the consultation paper here.