Thursday, January 27, 2022
HomeFarmweek NewsSONI and landowners ready to deliver NI clean energy target

SONI and landowners ready to deliver NI clean energy target

SONI, the electricity transmission system operator for Northern Ireland, has welcomed the publication of the Province’s new energy strategy.

The company says it is ready to play its part in the delivery of an ambitious new clean energy target by continuing to work closely with farmers and landowners to carry out the changes needed to the electricity transmission grid by 2030.

The energy strategy sets the goal of at least 70 per cent 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 government, the public and industry, as well as key stakeholders such as the Ulster Farmers’ Union, 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 explained: “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.

“This couldn’t have been achieved without the support and buy-in from farmers and landowners who host the infrastructure that has allowed us to reach a point where almost 50 per cent of our electricity comes from renewables.

“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.

“Ongoing engagement and strong working relationships with the agricultural community across Northern Ireland will continue to be a central part of our approach as we work to deliver these solutions.”

SONI believes that a diverse and affordable fuel mix will be essential to reaching the 70 per cent target.

Mr Campbell sad: “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 closely with farmers and land owners to deliver the infrastructure needed to get us to this point – and we really value those relationships we have built.

“Going forward, the energy strategy has set the guiderails for Northern Ireland when it comes to reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and we look forward to playing a collaborative role in meeting that goal.”

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