North-South renewable electricity interconnector given the green light

Plans for a North-South interconnector have been given the go ahead this week. The project is set to create a 400kv overhead electricity line connecting Northern Ireland with the Republic and will help with fulfilling the growing energy demand across the island.

Applications were previously approved by Northern Ireland’s Department for Infrastructure in 2018, however a legal challenge saw the two applications quashed and passed back to the department for consideration.

Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon confirmed this week that full planning permission has been granted and stated “I have carefully reconsidered the proposal and the up-to-date environmental information and have concluded that planning permission should be granted for the development which remains of strategic importance for our island economy,”

“The North-South Electricity Interconnector remains crucial to handling growing demand across the electricity transmission systems across the island of Ireland, promoting greater competition within the Single Electricity Market (SEM) for wholesale electricity trading and to protecting security of supply.

“It will also enhance network stability and support the future growth of renewable generation and help support our economic recovery from the Covid-19 crisis. These economic and system benefits will benefit citizens across our community.”

The decision has been welcomed by electricity operators and representatives of the renewable electricity industry who hope that the scheme will create jobs, reduce the cost of electricity and provide an additional route to market for increased levels of renewable energy.

Everun’s Managing Director, Michael Thompson, also welcomed the news, commenting “There is a critical need to invest in the backbone network infrastructure if we are to deliver the levels of renewable energy the industry is targeting. The North South Interconnector is an important part of this plan and hopefully will stimulate an increase in the speed of overall network development”.

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