Investment in the network
At Northern Ireland Electricity Networks (NIE Networks), one of our key roles is planning the electricity network we need for the future. Major electricity projects, such as the building of new lines or substations, can take many years to develop.
Following a European Commission decision with respect to responsibility for planning investments for the Northern Ireland electricity transmission network, Northern Ireland Electricity Networks' (NIE Networks') transmission investment planning activities have transferred to the System Operator Northern Ireland (SONI) from the 1st May 2014. SONI will also assume responsibility for obtaining wayleaves and other statutory consents to permit the construction of new electricity transmission apparatus.
This has been effected to satisfy certain requirements of the EU’s IME3 directive, regarding the independence of electricity transmission. NIE Networks retains ownership of the transmission network and will continue to be responsible for transmission construction and maintenance.
NIE Networks and SONI work closely together in relation to transmission matters, in a relationship governed by their respective licences, and specific Transmission Interface Arrangements.
NIE Networks has submitted a planning application for the Tyrone Cavan Interconnector, which will link the electricity grids of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. As well as providing a stronger grid, this line is critical for the import or export of home grown renewable energy and will help put downward pressure on electricity prices.
Government targets for more of our energy to come from renewable sources such as wind or wave have implications for our electricity network. We have to transport the power from where it is generated to where it is used in homes and businesses. This means that we need to develop our network in areas where wind farms or other energy generators are built.