Scare-mongering again: Electricity supplies in N Ireland

The Times report (August 22) about an “emergency agreement between London and Dublin” being needed to keep electricity flowing through the all-Ireland grid in the event of a no-deal outcome to the UK-EU negotiations gave a wrong picture of the position of Northern Ireland’s supply position.

Firstly, Northern Ireland’s part of the grid is not only supplied by the Republic. It has two major power stations of its own, one of which, Ballylumford in County Antrim, alone has a capacity of 1300 MW, 70% of Northern Ireland’s total demand (1800 MW). Secondly, there is the Moyle 500 MW interconnector from Auchencrosh in Ayrshire, Scotland, to Ballycronan in Antrim, 30% of Northern Ireland’s demand. Thirdly, another 500 MW East-West interconnector from Woodland in the Republic to Shotton near Liverpool supplies the Republic’s part of the grid. These connectors are part of a general system connecting the UK with continental Europe. The UK-France connector has been in operation for years, passing up to 2000 MW between the two countries (mainly France to the UK of course).

There is thus no need on our side for any new agreement to continue to operate a single grid in the island of Ireland.  If the Irish wish to unbalance their part of the grid by somehow blocking electrons flowing to Northern Ireland, we will have several options to rebalance our part of the grid to ensure normal electricity supplies to our fellow citizens there, without resorting to such absurdities as towing barges with diesel generators on board. Someone needs to tell those “senior figures” in Greg Clark’s department referred to in the report, before more unnecessary obligations to the Irish are entered into.

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