North-South electricity interconnector: Overhead cross-border line vital for North West future

Press Release image

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 9th December 2015

Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Jonathan Bell with SONI (System Operator for Northern Ireland) General Manager Robin McCormick and Fintan Slye, Chief Executive of EirGrid Group at the company's Control Centre in Castlereagh.  The Minister visited SONI to discuss plans for the North South electricity Interconnector which he said was "critical for the long term security of supply for Northern Ireland".

Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Release image Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 9th December 2015 Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Jonathan Bell with SONI (System Operator for Northern Ireland) General Manager Robin McCormick and Fintan Slye, Chief Executive of EirGrid Group at the company's Control Centre in Castlereagh. The Minister visited SONI to discuss plans for the North South electricity Interconnector which he said was "critical for the long term security of supply for Northern Ireland". Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

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An overhead power line linking the electricity grids in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is an urgent necessity, vital to help the local economy grow, attract foreign investment and create new employment opportunities in Londonderry and Strabane.

That’s according to senior representatives from SONI (System Operator Northern Ireland), who have made the case for a proposed new North-South electricity interconnector project to Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Environment and Regeneration Committee.

SONI General Manager Robin McCormick said: “We are very pleased to have had the opportunity to speak to Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Environment and Regeneration Committee about the importance of the North South Interconnector project.

“The Interconnector is an urgent necessity and is required to ensure we have enough electricity to meet demand throughout Northern Ireland in the coming years.

“It will also result in a reduction in the cost of electricity across the island by approximately £14 million per year, providing a direct benefit to homes and businesses everywhere.

“These savings are expected to rise significantly throughout the lifetime of the project.

“Our presentation to Council members follows Londonderry Chamber’s recent energy event in the Derry City Hotel which SONI was happy to sponsor.

“At the event Chamber representatives could not have been clearer about the importance of the North South Interconnector to businesses in the local area.

“A strong, reliable and secure electricity network is vital to help the local economy grow, to attract foreign investment and create new employment opportunities in the Derry City and Strabane area.

“At SONI we are committed to continuing to progress the project over the next 12 months, with an anticipated delivery date of Q4 2019.”

The proposal, a planning application for which is currently with the Planning Appeals Commission, is required to achieve security of electricity supply in Northern Ireland and will result in significant savings to consumers, according to SONI.

The briefing, requested by SONI, provided Councillors with an opportunity to learn about the current status of the project, as well as other transmission network developments in the local area.

Connecting the island’s electricity networks with a new overhead line running between counties Tyrone and Cavan, the interconnector will bring direct benefits to households and businesses throughout Northern Ireland, including the North West.