Innovative electricity transmission grid needed to power ‘Green Recovery’

13th May 2021

Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) members have been told of the fundamental changes needed to Northern Ireland’s transmission grid to support the ‘Green Recovery’.

Electricity transmission system operator, SONI joined NI Chamber members for a roundtable discussion on its ‘Shaping Our Electricity Future’ consultation, which sets out SONI’s potential approaches to delivering a green electricity grid over the next ten years.

The consultation is anticipating an ambitious new renewable electricity target in Northern Ireland, which Economy Minister Diane Dodds MLA has said should be at least 70% by 2030.

If this target is to be met, the grid will have to facilitate twice as much renewable energy than it currently handles.

In the ‘Shaping Our Electricity Future’ report, SONI sets out four potential approaches to delivering a transmission network that is ready for 2030 and beyond. These include:

  1. Generation-Led: Government policy would influence where renewable energy is generated – favouring locations where the grid is already strong
  2. Developer-Led: In this approach, SONI continue to connect new sources of renewable electricity as requested in any location
  3. Technology-Led: This approach uses technical solutions to make the grid more resilient so it can better handle the variable nature of renewable energy
  4. Demand-Led: Government policy determines where future large energy users such as data centres would locate in Northern Ireland

NI Chamber members, as well as the public across Northern Ireland have been encouraged by SONI to share their views on the consultation before it closes on Monday 14 June 2021 and have their say on how the grid is developed.

Christopher Morrow, Head of Communications and Policy at NI Chamber welcomed the engagement with SONI:

“NI Chamber and our members are committed to playing our role in supporting the decarbonisation of the Northern Ireland economy.

“Having a power grid that can handle more renewable electricity is essential to meet future targets and eventually achieve net zero carbon emissions in Northern Ireland. It is important that businesses across Northern Ireland have their say in how that is delivered.

“I would like to commend SONI for the innovative approach they are taking to the Shaping Our Electricity Future Consultation and NI Chamber looks forward to submitting a response.”

Natasha Sayee, Head of External Communications and Stakeholder Engagement at SONI thanked NI Chamber members and encouraged everyone to get involved in the consultation:

“On behalf of SONI I would like to thank NI Chamber and its members for taking the time to discuss the Shaping Our Electricity Future consultation.

“At SONI we are committed to playing a key role in Northern Ireland’s energy transition, but we can’t do it alone. The challenges of climate change impact us all and we need to come up with the solutions together.

“That’s why we’re encouraging everyone in Northern Ireland – including the NI Chamber and its members – to get involved in this consultation and have their say on Shaping Our Electricity Future.”

More information about the public consultation and how to respond can be found online at

More information can also be requested by emailing or writing to Shaping Our Electricity Future, SONI, 12 Manse Road, Belfast, BT6 9RT.