At SONI, we are making the grid ready to carry at least 70% of Northern Ireland’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030, an ambition set out by Economy Minister Diane Dodds MLA.
In order to achieve at least 70% clean electricity by 2030, SONI needs to add more energy from renewable sources, such as wind and sun, to the power system. This means that the electricity grid will need to carry more power from energy sources that vary depending on the weather. This power will also need to be carried over longer distances.
As a result, we need to make the grid stronger and more flexible. To help decide how best to do this, SONI has created four draft approaches to developing Northern Ireland's grid in order to reach the 2030 clean electricity target.
On Monday 8 March 2021, SONI launched a nationwide consultation on these four approaches to fundamentally change the grid to achieve Northern Ireland’s clean energy ambitions, while maintaining an affordable and secure supply for consumers. The consultation is called Shaping Our Electricity Future.
The four approaches in Shaping Our Electricity Future comprised the following:
Each of the four approaches require investments in grid development projects throughout Northern Ireland, with costs ranging from £113 million to £535 million.
Between Monday 8 March and Monday 14 June, SONI held a series of online workshops, meetings and fora across the country to inform people and gather feedback that will directly influence the final roadmap.
In addition to this, SONI launched a new consultation portal at consult.soni.ltd.uk that hosted the consultation material and acted as an accessible platform for people to submit their views.
Based on feedback received by the end of the consultation, we will develop a final plan which is due for publication in Autumn 2021.