Senior representatives from SONI (System Operator for Northern Ireland) updated Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council, on the proposed North-South (Tyrone-Cavan) electricity interconnector which will have a significant impact on strengthening the grid in the greater Belfast and Lisbur area .
The planning application for the interconnector project has been referred to a Planning Appeals
Commission Public Inquiry, so the application will not be determined by Northern Ireland’s super councils.
SONI made a presentation, to councillors with an overview of the company and the opportunity to be briefed about the North South Interconnector.
Speaking during the presentation Shane Brennan, North South Interconnector Project Manager at SONI, said that the proposal is ‘the most important infrastructure project in Northern Ireland at the moment, if not the most important on the entire island.’
Addressing the chamber, Mr. Brennan also outlined the interconnector’s pivotal role in driving economic development, to the Greater Belfast and Lisburn Areas:
“It is vital to the security of electricity supply for Northern Ireland,” Mr Brennan said. “It will also improve the efficiency of the electricity market in Northern Ireland which should result in lower bills for customers.
“The project is expected to reduce the cost of electricity generation for consumers across the island.
“Also, in terms of renewable electricity and sustainability, the North-South Interconnector will
enable more renewable generation to be connected to the electricity network, helping to reduceour dependency on imported fossil fuels.
“A strong, reliable and secure electricity network is vital to help Northern Ireland’s economy to grow, to attract foreign investment and create new employment opportunities from Lisburn to Londonderry.”
“All the main business organisations in Northern Ireland recognise the need for this project, including Manufacturing Northern Ireland and the CBI.”
After the presentation, Natasha Sayee, Public Affairs lead at SONI, said it had been valuable: “We were very pleased to have had the opportunity to deliver an understanding of the benefits of the interconnector to our local council. We had an engaging question and answer session with members who were very interested in the work we are carrying out at SONI.
“We’ve invited them to visit our headquarters in Castlereagh to view our command centre and for further discussion around the North South Interconnector project.”
The planning decision on North South Interconnector will be a matter for the Planning Appeals Commission and the Environment Minister.
SONI hopes that the public inquiry can resume in early 2016.