Belfast Telegraph

AES wins contract to meet electricity shortfall

By Margaret Canning

Power company AES Corporation has won a new contract to provide extra capacity for generating electricity to avoid a shortfall in the next few years.

The deal announced by System Operator Northern Ireland (SONI) - which is responsible for the upkeep of the high-voltage electricity system in Northern Ireland - will prevent the lights going out across the province.

AES - which owns Ballylumford and Kilroot power stations, - was awarded the three-year contract following a competitive tendering process.

SONI said the agreement will see it provide an extra 250 megawatts of capacity - enough to power 160,000 homes.

However, economist John Simpson said the announcement lacked detail, including how AES would increase capacity and what level of investment would be required.

Richard Murphy, an energy lawyer at law firm Pinsent Masons, said the agreement will ensure continued supply while the Moyle Interconnector between Scotland and Northern Ireland is being repaired - and while the proposed north-south interconnector remains stuck in planning.

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