SONI welcomes decision to grant planning approval for North South Interconnector in RoI

21 December 2016

SONI (System Operator for Northern Ireland) has welcomed today’s decision by the planning authority in the Republic of Ireland, to approve the southern element of the North South Interconnector project.

The consent from An Bord Pleanála is a milestone for the project, which will see the electricity grids between Northern Ireland and the Republic connected and strengthened by the addition of a new overhead line. If approved in both jurisdictions, the line will start at a substation in South Tyrone before running into Counties Armagh, Monaghan, Cavan and Meath.

As this is a cross border project, progress is also dependant on the outcome of a Public Inquiry in Northern Ireland, which is scheduled for February 2017.

The North South Interconnector remains SONI’s priority grid development project, not least because of the urgent need to address security of supply problems facing Northern Ireland.

In addition, the proposed interconnector will also significantly reduce costs to consumers in Northern Ireland by improving the efficiency of the all-island electricity market.

Robin McCormick, General Manager of SONI said it is now essential to see the project progressing in both jurisdictions:

“We very much welcome the positive outcome from An Bord Pleanála; it represents significant progress for the project. The North South Interconnector is undoubtedly the most important infrastructure scheme on the island today and will help deliver very real benefits to domestic and commercial customers.

“While this decision is encouraging, at SONI our focus remains on the planning process in Northern Ireland. We are putting every effort into our preparations for the Public Inquiry, which is due to begin in Armagh in February.”