Ibec – the group that represents Irish business, has today welcomed a High Court ruling in favour of An Bord Pleanála which should pave the way for the commencement of work on the long delayed but vital North-South Electricity Interconnector.
It is time now for all TDs, political parties and other stakeholders to get behind this project and ensure its delivery as a national priority.
Ibec CEO Danny McCoy stated: “The major competitive challenges created by Brexit make construction of the North-South Interconnector more relevant than ever before. Sufficient electricity supply is essential for growing our economy and is a significant factor in ensuring we seize the inward investment opportunities that will arise in the next few years. It is worrying, to say the least, that Northern Ireland is facing an electricity supply deficit by 2021, if North-South electricity flows are not safeguarded. The Interconnector can address this problem by strengthening the electricity grid, reducing the risk of power shortages and blackouts, all at a lower cost to users. In fact, the new Interconnector will result in savings to consumers across the island of around €30m per year, and that is likely to grow over time. Poor interconnection at the moment means that generated electricity is regularly unused – a high cost that customers are paying for.
“It is noteworthy that earlier this week the UK Government highlighted the importance of the continuation of the Single Electricity Market (SEM), covering the island of Ireland, in its most recent position paper on Northern Ireland and Ireland. At this important Brexit juncture, we welcome the UK’s commitment to facilitating the All-Island supply of efficient electricity, as well as continued interconnection between the island of Ireland and Britain.
“Adequate supply of energy underpins all economic activity, prosperity and jobs growth. The North-South Interconnector is one of the most critical pieces of infrastructure needed for Ireland in the next few years. Its delivery is essential for the successful future operations of the All-Island Single Electricity Market. As we face into the uncertainty of Brexit negotiations, we must progress its construction with added urgency. Business is fully supportive of the project. Any disruption to the delivery of the North-South Interconnector will lead to an inferior grid and significant cost increases, which will ultimately negatively impact all electricity users.”