Electric fears over power grid upgrade

Published Thursday, 26 June 2014
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Serious concerns have been raised that Northern Ireland residents could be left without electricity and subjected to more frequent power cuts if a major infrastructure project is not started.

The Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE) has said the long-awaited North-South Interconnector is needed to help ease pressure on the electricity network.

The interconnector was scheduled for completion in 2017, however, delays have pushed that back to at least 2019.

In its 2014 State of the Nation report the ICE says residents will be subjected to more power cuts given the current network is operating at capacity and the dangers extreme weather events have on supply.

The ICE has called for the Executive to make the difficult decisions needed and quickly.

Regional director, Wendy Blundell said: "While there has been improvement in some areas since our report in 2010, a lack of investment and delivery on key projects leaves our infrastructure vulnerable.

"Our government must make some difficult decisions quickly to ensure the public benefit of our infrastructure is maintained."

ICE vice president, Keith Clarke, added: "It is becoming clear that extreme weather events will become more frequent, and it is time that factors such as availability, resilience and the "domino effect" across the networks when one network fails affecting others, are rooted into the criteria used to make decisions on which projects go ahead so new infrastructure is more future proofed."

The ICE has also said the Executive needs to show stronger leadership in waste management issues saying the introduction of the new super-councils could be the ideal time to improve recycling levels.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Taxi Paul in Belfast wrote (214 days ago):
Is that true because on of the power station workers told me last year that it was only one of our three power stations generating almost all the power because it was cheaper than the other two. How is a connection to the south going to help prevent power cuts or provide greater 'resilience' to extreme weather? Is the Rebublic, given its close geographical position to us not subject to the same weather conditions we are? Use this money to put more lines underground and improve our own network. We should only be thinking of this connection if it is of benefit to export electric.
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