The Director of SGN Natural Gas, David Butler, recently presented at the Policy Forum for Northern Ireland to discuss the importance of infrastructure modernisation and security of supply.
Senior figures in attendance at the event included Clare McAllister from Electric Ireland; Niall Martindale from firmus energy; and John French, Chief Executive, Utility Regulator for Northern Ireland.
Mr Butler highlighted the key benefits of Northern Ireland maximising existing infrastructure during his presentation stating that the networks in this region have the capacity to endure what is known in the energy industry as a ’one in twenty winter’, which is when extreme temperatures last for a prolonged period, thereby creating a perfect storm of low supply and high demand for the existing network.
David remarked on the opportunity for Northern Ireland given that the SGN Natural Gas network is one of the newest in operation: “The rest of the United Kingdom is investing billions in upgrading their natural gas infrastructure to polyethylene pipework, putting Northern Ireland a step ahead. Polyethylene pipework importantly requires very little maintenance and has a long product lifetime. This is, therefore, a low cost and low regret option for Northern Ireland’s energy system. Our infrastructure also offers minimal disruption when compared to other potential solutions in terms of the conversion process with the majority of connections completed within one day.”
The Director concluded, “I was delighted to have received an invitation to speak on such an important topic. We are all fully aware of the journey ahead in terms of decarbonisation, so having the chance to partake in such a positive discussion with other senior figures from within the energy industry as well as government officials was a thoroughly useful exercise.”