SONI, the Electricity System Operator for Northern Ireland, has today published its Tomorrow’s Energy Scenarios Northern Ireland 2020 (TESNI), the first analysis of its kind.
This innovative research is intended to help industry and policy makers navigate the scale of change required to deliver Northern Ireland’s contribution towards an overall UK net-zero emissions target for 2050 following assessments by the Committee on Climate Change. The final report is available here.
The report identifies three credible pathways for Northern Ireland’s energy transition, with specific focus on the transmission electricity system covering the next thirty years.
The three scenarios are:
This final report incorporates feedback from the public and interested groups following an extensive consultation process in autumn 2019, on a draft version of the report.
SONI has a unique role to play in ensuring that we have a green power system ready for the radical transformation required to combat the climate emergency. Our scenarios show that decarbonisation will result in a significant increase in electricity demand into the future, primarily as a result of the electrification of heating and transport.
SONI has been working closely with Northern Ireland Electricity Networks through a joint working group in developing aspects of the scenarios.
"The report captures evidence from a range of sectors, including consumer representatives, academia, business and industry which suggests that Northern Ireland is at a defining moment in the battle against the climate emergency"
Welcoming the publication of the report SONI Managing Director Jo Aston said: ‘We are delighted to deliver our first Tomorrow’s Energy Scenarios report for Northern Ireland. This critical research highlights that Northern Ireland can deliver its contribution to the UK’s net-zero emissions target for 2050 if we have the collective will to do so.
“The report captures evidence from a range of sectors, including consumer representatives, academia, business and industry which suggests that Northern Ireland is at a defining moment in the battle against the climate emergency.
“We have three choices: make modest progress and fail to seize the opportunities available to us by meeting only our core climate commitments; actively address climate change and meet our range of 2050 targets or go above and beyond through an ambitious plan-led programme which would require significant changes to the way we live our lives. Whichever path we choose will have implications for generations today and those in the future.”
“Our research is important in assisting policy makers to make the right decisions, and is timely for informing the Department for the Economy’s development of an Energy Strategy. Our work and research does not stop here; we are continuing to assess the changes that are necessary to transform the Northern Ireland power system for future generations. We are taking a holistic view from a network, operation and markets perspectives and we will continue to update our scenario reports every two years to capture technological, policy, societal and economic change. We are committed to delivering our 2020-25 strategy which is shaped by two factors; climate change and the impending transformation of the electricity sector.”
SONI welcomes further feedback on our scenarios, we look forward to continuing to work with a range of stakeholders on future TESNI documents and in realising our strategy goals.
Following the publication of this report, we will assess the performance of the Northern Ireland electricity transmission grid for each of the scenarios. The results of this analysis will be published in the TESNI 2020 System Needs Assessment report.
For more information see our Energy Future webpage.