Home » Northern Ireland’s electricity network set for £3bn overhaul

Northern Ireland’s electricity network set for £3bn overhaul

by Liam Turner
An electricity pylon

NIE Networks has pledged to invest more than £3bn in Northern Ireland’s electricity network over the next 10 years.

The firm also plans to create more than 1,000 jobs between now and 2032 as it strives to reach net-zero.

NIE Networks said the investment would help more than 900,000 customers connect to low-carbon technologies such as electric cars, solar panels, and heat pumps.

However, NIE Networks also said the upgrades result in an additional cost to customers of between £10 to £20 a year.

‘Significant step-change needed’

NIE Networks’ managing director, Derek Hynes, said: “A significant step-change is needed in the level of investment required during the next 10 years and beyond to facilitate the scale of decarbonisation mandated in the Northern Ireland climate change legislation.

“These are investments that will provide increased network capacity to enable our customers to connect to low-carbon technologies such as electric vehicles, solar panels, and heat pumps.

“We will also need to invest to provide the network capacity needed to meet government targets for a greater proportion of electricity to consistently and reliably come from renewable sources.

“We believe that we will need to create 1,000 new jobs, including 400 apprenticeships in NIE Networks, and up to 500 new jobs in our contractors and support partners, between now and 2030.”

He added: “This level of investment will also attract additional inward investment into Northern Ireland, alongside encouraging new businesses to come here and existing businesses to grow.”

NIE Networks owns the network of lines, poles, and substations that takes electricity from power stations to homes and businesses.

It does not generate electricity or sell power to consumers.

Details of the investment are part of NIE Networks’ business plan, which was submitted to the Utility Regulator earlier this year.

The regulator will assess it and publish a draft determination for public consultation in November, with the regulator expected to publish a final determination and proposals on licence modifications in October 2024.

Image credit: Lisa-S/Shutterstock

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