SONI appoints liaison officer

Fergal Keenan
Fergal Keenan
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SONI (System Operator for Northern Ireland) has appointed an Agricultural Liaison Officer, to work with landowners and the farming community on the proposed North South Interconnector Project.

The scheme, which is currently with the planning authorities, will connect the electricity grids in Northern Ireland and the Republic, ensuring Northern Ireland has a secure electricity supply. If approved, this vital project will strengthen the electricity grid via an over headline running from Turleenan, County Tyrone to Derrynoose in County Armagh, before crossing the border.

The North South Interconnector is of significance to the entire island, reducing electricity costs to consumers by increasing competition on the all-Ireland wholesale market. It will also facilitate the connection of more renewable energy onto the network, reducing Northern Ireland’s reliance on imported fossil fuels.

To help navigate landowners through the various stages of the project, SONI has hired Fergal Keenan as an Agricultural Liaison officer. Fergal, a dairy farmer from Gortin (County Tyrone), has more than 20 years’ experience as a landowner liaison.

Before joining SONI, Fergal was previously with Wind NI working with landowners on the siting of medium sized wind turbines. Before that, he worked for Bord Gais, on the largest ever pipeline project carried out in Northern Ireland.

“When it comes to infrastructure projects like this, I know that some people will have concerns,” he said. “I am here to discuss those concerns and answer questions on the proposed line; landowner compensation; what access and construction might look like as well as mitigation measures.

“As a farmer myself I know that developing the power grid can only happen when we work closely with the agricultural community.”

As well as the North South Interconnector, Fergal also acts as Agricultural Liaison for other SONI schemes across Northern Ireland. SONI is encouraging farmers and landowners requiring information about the proposed interconnector and other projects to contact Fergal directly on 07966930855 or email fergal.keenan@soni.ltd.uk