North West green energy can already power 1/3 of North's homes, energy strategy launch told

From left to right are: Brian McGrath, Derry Chamber, Richard Rodgers, Department for the Economy, Jo Aston, SONI, Cecil McBurney, RiverRidge, and Jamie Delargy
From left to right are: Brian McGrath, Derry Chamber, Richard Rodgers, Department for the Economy, Jo Aston, SONI, Cecil McBurney, RiverRidge, and Jamie Delargy

SONI, the firm that runs the electricity grid, outlined its ambitious new plan to transition the local power System to green energy sources at an event today in partnership with the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce.

SONI recently published its new ‘Strategy 2020-2025’ corporate plan, which is a direct response to the climate crisis.

The strategy will ensure that the North's grid can handle 95 per cent renewable energy at any one time. This pioneering ambition will see a significant increase from the current figure of 65 per cent.

Key to the new strategy is upgrading the power system so that it can handle these world-leading levels of renewable energy, supplied through a combination of wind and solar energy.

SONI Managing Director, Jo Aston, launched the organisation’s new corporate plan in the North West today.

She said: “We are pleased to have had the opportunity to launch our new strategy to businesses in the North West today. 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.

“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.

“That’s why it is so important to engage with businesses across the North West like we did today. Business can play a crucial role in the decarbonisation of our economy and today was a fantastic opportunity to exchange views and ideas with business leaders here.”

Brian McGrath, President, Londonderry Chamber of Commerce said: “Today was a very useful engagement with SONI, hearing about its essential proposals to transform the energy mix in Northern Ireland.

“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.”