Decision by High Court to block progress of ARC21 incinerator calls into question likelihood of second energy interconnector
High Court Interconnector threat is only latest blow to SONI’s decision to withdraw contract to AES Kilroot and Ballylumford B with loss of 270 local jobs
May 15th: Unite Regional Officer for the energy sector, Joanne McWilliams, called on the System Operator for Northern Ireland (SONI) to review its determination on the first all-Ireland electrical supply auction in light of the implications of yesterday’s High Court judgement against the ARC21 incinerator in Hightown.
“SONI’s decision to exclude Kilroot and the Ballylumford B Generator from the all-Ireland Integrated Single Electricity Market (ISEM) market will result in approximately 270 job-losses and will eliminate 36% of Northern Ireland’s domestic electrical generating capacity.
“Unite has repeatedly raised concerns in regard to the fact that this decision will leave Northern Ireland’s electricity system hugely reliant on a north-south interconnector which has yet to be built, a Moyle interconnector which is highly sporadic in its operation and totally dependent on external gas supply at a time of mounting geo-political insecurity.
“Yesterday’s High Court decision, which found that in the absence of functioning political institutions civil servants did not have the authority to bring forward a highly-controversial incinerator project in Hightown in County Antrim, confirms the seriousness of our concerns. It calls into question the likelihood that a North-South Electricity interconnector will proceed in the face of substantial local opposition.
“SONI’s determination will directly result in the closure of Kilroot and the Ballylumford B generator has already been drawn into question by AES’ decision to close a second Ballylumford generator, as well as an unspecified IT failure which has resulted in a further delay to the ‘go live’ date for ISEM. In light of yesterday’s High Court ruling the case for an independent and rigorous analysis of Northern Ireland’s future electricity security appears unassailable. In the meantime, SONI must act to remove the threat of redundancy hanging over our members in Kilroot and Ballylumford”, Ms McWilliams said.