Cluster Methodology Review

The NIE Networks Statement of Charges for Connection to the Northern Ireland Electricity Networks’ distribution system (the ‘SoCC’) sets out, in Appendix 2, a methodology for the connection of generation sites within a defined area to a cluster substation (the ‘cluster methodology’). The cluster methodology has been a major success in facilitating the connection of renewable generation in Northern Ireland, and a major contributor towards the early achievement of the 2020 40% target. This target was in fact exceeded ahead of time, as 44% of electricity consumed for the 12 month period ending 30 June 2019 came from renewable sources.

The cluster methodology has provided significant capacity, technical and environmental benefits for the connection of renewable generation in Northern Ireland. In the light of future targets, such as the proposed new Energy Strategy for Northern Ireland and the existing commitment for the UK to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, it is appropriate that the cluster methodology is reviewed so that assets are utilised efficiently to facilitate the delivery of these targets.  By carrying out this review of the cluster methodology, NIE Networks is acting to comply with the Electricity (NI) Order 1992, Article 12(1), ‘It shall be the duty of an electricity distributor to develop and maintain an efficient, coordinated and economical system of electricity distribution’.

NIE Networks consider that, following the experience gained from connecting renewable generation to cluster infrastructure, there are issues relating to present cluster matters to be resolved. Due to the direction of travel of the whole energy system, including the electrification of heat and transport, it is also prudent to consider future cluster matters such as connecting large customer and network demand into cluster infrastructure.

The Call for Evidence can be accessed below.

View Call for Evidence

NIE Networks invite interested parties to respond to this Call for Evidence. Responses should be sent electronically to by 5pm on Friday 13th November 2020.

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