Shaping Our Electricity Future

Expressions of Interest – Shaping Our Electricity Future Advisory Council

Click here to view the Open Letter: Establishment of Shaping Our Electricity Future Advisory Council.

EirGrid and SONI assessed potential options for facilitating ongoing industry engagement on the issues, challenges and activities set out in the Shaping Our Electricity Future Roadmap. As a result, we have established the Shaping Our Electricity Future Advisory Council.

If you are interested in becoming a member of the Advisory Council, please review the open letter at the link here and email the programme office before 09 June 2022. The next meeting of the Advisory Council will take place on 15 September 2022.

At SONI, we are making the grid ready to carry at least 70% of Northern Ireland’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030, an ambition set out by the Department for the Economy in its Energy Strategy Consultation.

In order to achieve at least 70% clean electricity by 2030, SONI needs to add more energy from renewable sources, such as wind and sun, to the power system. This means that the electricity grid will need to carry more power from energy sources that vary depending on the weather. This power will also need to be carried over longer distances.

As a result, we need to make the grid stronger and more flexible. To help decide how best to do this, SONI has created four draft approaches to developing Northern Ireland's grid in order to reach the 2030 clean electricity target.

During 2021 we conducted a comprehensive public consultation, engaging through traditional and innovative methods to make sure all voices were heard. We have now published the findings of this work which maps out our plans to help meet Northern Ireland's renewable targets.

Consultation

The four approaches in Shaping Our Electricity Future comprised the following:

  1. Generation-Led: Government policy would influence where renewable energy is generated – favouring locations where the grid is already strong
  2. Developer-Led: In this approach, we continue to connect new sources of renewable electricity as requested in any location
  3. Technology-Led: This approach uses technical solutions to make the grid more resilient so it can better handle the variable nature of renewable energy
  4. Demand-Led: Government policy determines where future large energy users such as big industry and data centres would locate in Northern Ireland

Each of the four approaches require investments in grid development projects throughout Northern Ireland, with costs ranging from £113 million to £535 million.

Between Monday 8 March and Monday 14 June, SONI held a series of online workshops, meetings and fora across the country to inform people and gather feedback that will directly influence the final roadmap.

In addition to this, SONI launched a new consultation portal at consult.soni.ltd.uk that hosted the consultation material and acted as an accessible platform for people to submit their views.

Shaping Our Electricity Future Publications

Shaping Our Electricity Future Advisory Council

Meeting 1 – May 2022. The presentation from the Advisory Council in May 2022 is available to review here and other materials presented are available here.