SONI Welcomes Decision to Grant Planning Approval for North South Interconnector

23 January 2018

SONI (System Operator for Northern Ireland) welcomes today’s decision by the Department for Infrastructure to approve planning permission for the North South Interconnector; a project vital to ensuring Northern Ireland has a secure supply of electricity.

The approval from the DFI comes after a positive recommendation from the Planning Appeals Commission (PAC) which reviewed the planning applications and carried out a Public Inquiry into the project; held in Armagh in February 2017.  Planning approval for the southern element of the scheme was granted in December 2016.

The North South Interconnector will see the electricity grids between Northern Ireland and the Republic connected and strengthened by the addition of a new overhead line; which will remove blockages on the electricity system, significantly reducing costs to consumers and improving the efficiency of the all-island electricity market.

SONI is responsible for the planning aspects of the project and will soon hand over to NIE Networks to build and maintain the interconnector. 

Commenting on the planning decision, Robin McCormick, General Manager of SONI said working with landowners and the community will remain a priority:

“We very much welcome this positive outcome from the Department for Infrastructure.  The North South Interconnector is undoubtedly the most important infrastructure scheme on the island today and will deliver very real benefits to domestic and commercial consumers.

“It has received strong support from businesses and employers because of the positive impact it will have on the economy, and from consumer groups as it will help reduce the cost of electricity.

“While we recognise this project is to the benefit of everyone, we will continue to work to ensure that it is delivered at the least possible impact to the communities and landowners who are hosting it.

“In the coming months we will hand over the project to NIE Networks who will construct the interconnector, in the meantime we will be on the ground engaging with landowners and the community, ensuring they remain up-to-date on progress and timelines.”