SONI outlines green energy strategy to Derry businesses

L-R: Brian McGrath, Derry Chamber, Jo Aston, SONI, and Jamie Delargy.

THE company responsible for operating the north's electricity grid has outlined its plan to allow the system to handle 95 per cent of renewable energy at any one time.

SONI (System Operator for Northern Ireland) unveiled its new strategy at an event in Derry yesterday. It said at present, the Northern Ireland electricity grid can handle up to 65 per cent of energy from renewable sources such as wind and solar farms.

The operator said upgrading the power system is key to the new strategy.

Speaking at a business event hosted alongside Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, SONI managing director, Jo Aston said: SONI is committed to doing all it can to tackle the climate crisis. Our proposals are ambitious but necessary to help reach the UK government's target of achieving zero net carbon emissions by 2050.

“The north west is host to a significant amount of renewable energy, almost 400 Megawatts, that is enough to power one third of all homes in Northern Ireland and that is set to increase in the future,” added the managing director.

“It is our job to ensure the power grid can get this clean green energy from where it is produced to where it is needed; this means we will have to upgrade and improve the grid in the North West.

“This will mean a stronger grid, with a more secure supply of electricity; ensuring that local businesses and industry has the power it needs to expand.”

President of Derry Chamber, Brian McGrath, said: “Our members were eager to hear about how energy can drive the local economy and how SONI plans to reach world-leading levels of renewable energy use over the next five years without passing on the costs to businesses and consumers alike.

“The chamber recognises that effective collaboration between SONI and business is crucial to help reach its target of making Northern Ireland a world-leader in green energy use but also to help businesses here become more cost-competitive as a way of attracting further inward investment.”

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