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Green energy: NI’s power grid 8 March 2021

Green energy: Options for doubling renewable energy on NI’s power grid


Conor Macauley via BBC News NI

The operator of NI’s electricity network has suggested four options for doubling the amount of renewable power on the grid.


SONI said the network needs investment in the hundreds of millions to cope with increased demand for green energy as NI tries to hit carbon targets.


The demand is likely to be driven by much higher uptake of electric vehicles and the electrification of heat.

The cost of the investment will be paid through customers’ electricity bills.

One of the biggest problems is that much renewable energy – mainly wind farms – is in the north and west, while most of the power is consumed in the east of Northern Ireland.

About half our power already comes from renewables but there is a stated ambition to get that to 70% by 2030.

For that to happen, the amount of renewable energy on the network would have to almost double.

That presents major challenges for the electricity network due to the nature of renewable power and the capacity of the grid to deliver it.

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The four approaches suggested include using policy to concentrate renewable generation in areas where the grid is strong.

Other options include continuing to offer grid connections where generators choose to site renewable projects and using technology to transfer power from west to east.

The final suggestion is that the executive incentivises power–hungry data centres and other big industry to locate close to renewable sources.

SONI says only two of the options – concentrating renewable connections at grid strong–points and encouraging big business to locate near renewable sources – will guarantee Northern Ireland meets a 70% target.

Read the full article here.