While there is a general awareness of how the electricity market works in Northern Ireland, less is known about the role that some of the key market participants play in enabling and contributing to the local economy.
For this reason during 2016, Grant Thornton undertook research to understand the role of the System Operator for Northern Ireland (SONI) within both the electricity market and the economy of the region. This research was supported by interviews with key market stakeholders as listed in the appendix.
Grant Thornton is ultimately aware of SONI’s responsibility to provide for the safe, secure and efficient operation of the high voltage electricity system. However, we have found that SONI’s role and importance are not widely understood, nor appreciated.
At a point in time when the energy sector is striving to deliver the competing priorities of energy security, sustainability and affordability, SONI is under growing pressure to remain agile while continuing to deliver a high quality service to consumers.
It is hoped that this report will highlight the challenges facing the market, how SONI is responding to them and how it benefits the economy in Northern Ireland.