The interconnector will enable the flow of about 900MW of renewable power across the border, in both directions


North South Electricity Interconnector will comprise a 138km overhead power line. (Credit: Sebastián Faune from Pixabay.)

Systems Operators Northern Ireland (SONI), a part of the Eirgrid Group, has secured planning approval for the North South Electricity Interconnector.

Irish Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has granted approval for the project, which will comprise a 138km overhead power line that will stretch from County Tyrone to County Meath.

The project is said to be a critical part of electricity infrastructure which will bring economic benefits for both the regions and boost network stability.

The planning approval follows approval from the Development Finance Institution (DfI) on 23 January 2018.

Mallon said: “Following the quashing of the previous decision, I have carefully reconsidered the proposal and the up-to-date environmental information and have concluded that planning permission should be granted for the development which remains of strategic importance for our island economy.

“I have also taken into account the report by the Planning Appeals Commission that included a full consideration of the planning issues and endorsed the significant strategic importance of the development for Northern Ireland and its compliance with planning policy.”

North South Electricity Interconnector includes construction of 400kV electricity line

The application was submitted for the construction of a single circuit 400kV overhead electricity line that includes 102 towers over 34.1kms in length, from Moy in the townland of Turleenan to the border with the Republic of Ireland at Crossreagh in County Armagh.

The project also includes an additional section of electricity line extending for 0.2km across the townland of Crossbane.

Furthermore, the project will enable the flow of about 900MW of renewable power across the border, in both directions, providing electricity to approximately 600,000 households.

Mallon said: “The North South Electricity Interconnector remains crucial to handling growing demand across the electricity transmission systems across the island of Ireland, promoting greater competition within the Single Electricity Market (SEM) for wholesale electricity trading and to protecting security of supply.

“It will also enhance network stability and support the future growth of renewable generation and help support our economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. These economic and system benefits will benefit citizens across our community.”