Ulster Unionist MLA Danny Kinahan has described the Institute of Civil Engineers’ (ICE) State of the Nation Report as a timely warning about potential power shortages in Northern Ireland.
The South Antrim MLA said:
“The Institute of Civil Engineers’ (ICE) State of the Nation Report on Infrastructure has sounded a timely warning about the threat to Northern Ireland’s security of electricity supply. It notes we face a shortfall of generating capacity, in just a few years’ time. The ICE has performed a service by highlighting that by 2016 our electricity demands will threaten to outstrip supply.
“This is an issue the Ulster Unionist Party has consistently brought up in the Assembly at Question Time over many months. In response we have had promises by the DETI Minister of meetings and reports, but very little in the way of action.
“We support electricity interconnection on a pan British Isles basis, but there has been particular focus on the delay in delivering the proposed new North South interconnector. Whilst the length of time it is taking to get a verdict on the planning application is disappointing, there are live environmental issues associated with that project, which must be speedily but properly assessed. A decision made on planning grounds needs to be made as soon as possible.
“What is even more pressing, in my opinion, is the imminent threat to generating capacity at both Ballylumford and Kilroot power stations. Allied to that is the totally unacceptable situation where the Moyle Interconnector to Scotland is running at only around 50% of its capacity, and a new undersea supplementary cable is not due to be relayed by the operating company until 2017. Again the Institute of Civil Engineers’ Report highlights the challenges and dangers we face.
“Here is a situation where government, in the form of DETI Minister Foster, needs to step in. Above all, we need an energy policy which keeps the lights on in Northern Ireland.”