SONI, the electricity transmission system operator for Northern Ireland, has welcomed the publication of Northern Ireland’s new energy strategy. The company, which ensures the balance between electricity supply and demand, says it is ready to play its part in the delivery of an ambitious new clean energy target for 2030, which will build on the progress already being made towards Net Zero Carbon.
The energy strategy sets the goal of at least 70% of electricity consumed to come from renewable sources by 2030, which SONI believes is achievable if industry, government, communities and landowners collaborate to make it happen.
In preparation for the strategy SONI worked closely with the Department for the Economy, NIE Networks, the Utility Regulator, industry and the public to design its Shaping Our Electricity Future roadmap. Informed by the biggest public consultation ever undertaken by SONI, the roadmap provides a pathway to transforming the Northern Ireland electricity system to facilitate the 2030 clean energy target.
SONI Managing Director Alan Campbell explains:
“Northern Ireland’s electricity system is world leading when it comes to the integration of renewable energy and SONI’s innovation and operations are a key part of that success.
“Now, we have another exciting challenge; by 2030 we need to double the amount of renewable energy currently connected to the grid. We also need to be able to manage larger volumes of intermittent clean energy, so that when people flick a switch at home, they still have the secure and quality electricity supply they’ve come to expect. SONI has deep expertise in this area of engineering, and we know that we can do it.”
SONI believes that a diverse and affordable fuel mix will be essential to reaching the 70% target, Alan Campbell continues:
“We welcome the focus on fuel diversity in the energy strategy; Northern Ireland has rich onshore wind and solar resources to provide electricity consumers with a secure, cost effective and clean supply. Longer-term, off shore wind in particular, is essential to the path to Net Zero. Additional interconnection to Ireland and GB will mean that Northern Ireland can export this clean energy when we don’t need it, and when combined with new technologies such as battery storage will increase our electricity security.
“At SONI we’re pleased to have worked in collaboration with Minister Lyons and the Department for the Economy to support the development of the Energy Strategy through the sharing of our expertise and data. The Energy Strategy has set the guiderails for Northern Ireland industry and engineering to get on with what it does best; providing future focused solutions for our society; and SONI is very proud to be part of that.”