Tue 21st Feb 2017
Urgent Delivery of the North South Interconnector a Key Priority for Business and Industry Leaders
Northern Ireland’s leading business and industry groups have united to call for the urgent delivery of the North South Interconnector. The coalition, including Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber), described the project as a ‘catalyst for the NI Economy’ and will be delivering that message to the Public Inquiry into the project which begins in Armagh on Wednesday 22 February 2017.
The North South Interconnector will provide a critical link between the electricity grids in Northern Ireland and the Republic; reducing the cost of electricity for consumers and ensuring NI has the electricity supply it needs to meet demand in the years to come.
The organisations which represent tens of thousands of businesses across Northern Ireland will emphasise their support for the planning proposal which could see the project delivered by the end of 2020.
Kirsty McManus, Head of Business Development at Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry explains the significance of the project for Northern Ireland business:
“Delivery of the North South Interconnector is a top priority for the Northern Ireland Chamber’s membership. Businesses and employers need access to electricity in the most cost efficient manner possible, and the proposed Interconnector is key to achieving this.
“It is an essential piece of infrastructure which will allow the all-island electricity market to do what it was designed to do – achieve savings for all consumers North and South; this has real value to business and therefore to our members and we will continue to vocalise our support.”
SONI (System Operator for Northern Ireland) is responsible for delivering planning approval for the interconnector and has welcomed the strong support from Northern Ireland business.
Robin McCormick, General Manager of SONI said it is in the interests of everyone in Northern Ireland to see the project progress:
“The North South Interconnector is without doubt the single most important infrastructure project on the island today. It is urgently required and will reduce costs for consumers north and south, by allowing the Single Electricity Market to work as efficiently as possible – which is particularly good news for business.
“The Public Inquiry is an opportunity for everyone with an interest in the project to participate in an independent planning process and we are pleased that this project, so critical to the Northern Ireland economy, has reached this stage. The hearing is timely and comes after the decision in December 2016, by the planning authority in the Republic of Ireland, to approve the southern element of the project.”
The Public Inquiry into the project is being held at the Armagh City Hotel and is anticipated to run for around three weeks.
The coalition, includes NI Chamber, CBI NI, IoD, Federation of Small Businesses, Centre for Competitiveness and the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association.