North South Electricity Interconnector Essential To Supporting All-Island Economy

Ibec and the CBI, the two major business groups in the Republic and Northern Ireland, have launched a new report setting out the economic importance and urgency behind the proposed 400kV overhead North South electricity Interconnector.

The report, prepared by Grant Thornton, demonstrates how the proposed Interconnector will not only safeguard electricity supply and increase efficiency of delivery, it is also essential to keeping business across the island competitive in the face of prevailing challenges from Brexit.

Angela McGowan, CBI NI Regional Director, said:“The Single Electricity Market (SEM) is an excellent example of how working in collaboration can provide tangible benefits for citizens and businesses across the island of Ireland. However, the success of all markets is underpinned by effective infrastructure. Sufficient electricity supply is essential for growing our economy, allowing local companies to thrive, and is a significant attraction for inward investors. The successful delivery of the proposed North South Interconnector by 2021 will improve market efficiency, drive down costs for consumers, and guarantee Northern Ireland’s future security of supply.

Aoife Tierney, Assistant Manager at Grant Thornton Ireland; Iain Hoy, Senior Policy Advisor at the Confederation of British Industry; and Danny McCoy, CEO of Ibec

“The business community is justifiably concerned that Northern Ireland is projected to face an electricity supply deficit from 2021. The Interconnector can address this problem, as it will reduce the risk of power shortages and blackouts, while simultaneously reducing costs. In fact, the new Interconnector will result in all island annual savings each year in the region of £25.5m/ €30m, which is likely to grow over time.  Poor interconnection at the moment means that generated electricity is regularly unused – a high cost customers are paying for on their bills.

“With the latest CBI/AECOM Infrastructure Survey reporting that 87% of Northern Ireland businesses identify the delivery of the interconnector as a top priority for the regional economy, it remains the best option in terms of cost, reliability and impact on the consumer.”

Brendan Foster, Partner at Grant Thornton Ireland; Iain Hoy, Senior Policy Advisor at the Confederation of British Industry; Danny McCoy, CEO of Ibec; Jim Rice, Chairman of the Irish Manufacturers Association; and Aoife Tierney, Assistant Manager at Grant Thornton Ireland

The CBI and Ibec are now calling on the wider business community and politicians across the island of Ireland to get behind the project.

If delivered, both groups believe the Interconnector will:

  • Safeguard the supply of sufficient electricity to meet growing demand.
  • Increase efficiency of the Single Electricity Market and reduce cost.
  • Support inward investment and underpin investment in new generating capacity.
  • Underpin the excellent progress which has been made in developing the all island economy.

Danny McCoy, Ibec CEO, commented:”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 construction 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.  It is crucial that business get behind this project. Any disruption to the delivery of the project will lead to an inferior grid and significant cost increases, which will ultimately negatively impact all electricity users.”