"As Northern Ireland looks to chart a green recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, I was delighted that SONI could join with IoD Northern Ireland recently and hear from Chris Stark, CEO of the UK Committee on Climate Change, as he urged politicians to unite in their support of key infrastructure projects such as the North South Interconnector as part of the UK’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
"In a webinar with more than 100 local business leaders, Chris noted that the construction of the North South Interconnector would help Northern Ireland play a 'critical role' in the achievement of the UK’s target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
"In addition to improving security of supply and reducing energy costs for consumers, the North South Interconnector will enable the connection of 900MW of renewable generation, enough to power around 600,000 homes.
"The contextual importance of the North South Interconnector is set against our publication, at the start of July, of Tomorrow’s Energy Scenarios Northern Ireland 2020"
"While Northern Ireland already has a world-leading electricity system which can now handle 65% electricity from renewables at any one time, there is still much to do.
"The contextual importance of the North South Interconnector is set against our publication, at the start of July, of Tomorrow’s Energy Scenarios Northern Ireland 2020.
"The report identifies three credible pathways for Northern Ireland’s energy transition, with specific focus on the transmission electricity system covering the next thirty years.
"The three scenarios are:
"The report captures evidence from a range of sectors, including consumer representatives, academia, business and industry which suggests that Northern Ireland is at a defining moment in the battle against the climate emergency.
"Tomorrow’s Energy Scenarios shows that decarbonisation of the energy sector will result in a significant increase in electricity demand into the future, primarily as a result of the electrification of heating and transport. The electricity generation portfolio will continue to decarbonise; large increases in renewable generation will be required to meet growing electricity demand and to replace coal and oil generators expected to exit over time.
"Our research is important in assisting policy makers to make the right decisions and is timely for informing the Department for the Economy’s development of an Energy Strategy.
"SONI stands ready to do is part in making this key element of our green recovery a reality"
"Our work and research does not stop here; we are continuing to assess the changes that are necessary to transform the Northern Ireland power system for future generations. We are taking a holistic view from a network, operation and markets perspectives and we will continue to update our scenario reports every two years to capture technological, policy, societal and economic change.
"SONI has a unique role to play in ensuring that we have a green power system ready for the radical transformation that is now required. A strong energy policy which confronts the accelerating climate crisis, while delivering a low-carbon, cost-effective power system is essential. It should look out to 2050 with a clear roadmap and have ambitious measurable targets. A five-year action plan framework is required including mid-term reviews. This framework means that priorities can be weighted, delivering co-ordinated cross-departmental policies, and aligning and tailoring directions of travel to deliver maximum benefit and progress.
"Realising these opportunities will require a significant transformation of the electricity system. SONI stands ready to do is part in making this key element of our green recovery a reality."