New figures show that Northern Ireland generates nearly a quarter of its electricity needs from onshore wind energy sources, and has capacity has now passed the 1 gigawatt mark.
The figures are courtesy of the Northern Ireland Renewables Industry Group (NIRIG) which represents the Northern Ireland renewable energy industry. The figures were highlighted by the UK renewable trade body, RenewableUK, which focuses on wind and marine energy industries. Specifically, Northern Ireland — the Ireland which is still a part of the United Kingdom — now has a total of 1,029 megawatts (MW) of onshore wind capacity, made up of large and small scale wind. The country’s total renewable energy capacity only sit at 1,318 MW, showing the dominance of onshore wind in the country.
Already this year, onshore wind development in Northern Ireland has benefited from £127.4 million of local investment, and helping to account for the fact that in the 12-month period from April 2016 to March 2017, onshore wind generated an impressive 22.4% of Northern Ireland’s electricity. Meanwhile, all renewable electricity — including solar, hydro & tidal, and 65 MW of anaerobic digestion & biogas — accounted for 27.1% of all electricity generated.
Rolling 12 month Average % of Total Electricity Consumption Generated from Indigenous Renewable Sources
While obviously, Northern Ireland is a smaller country — it is only 17% the size of Scotland, for example — the UK as a whole only sources 6% of its electricity from onshore wind, so Northern Ireland is definitely doing well.
“Crossing this 1 GW threshold shows just how much of a success story onshore wind is in Northern Ireland,” explained Rachel Anderson, Chair of NIRIG. “Onshore wind remains one of the vital growth areas to our modern low-carbon economy, so we need to ensure that politicians here join us in securing a bright future for this technology.”
“Renewable electricity is making a massive contribution to Northern Ireland, creating jobs, bringing inward investment and enabling local regeneration,” added RenewableUK’s Executive Director, Emma Pinchbeck. “Northern Ireland is making the most of its great onshore wind resources, embracing a mature technology which is now the cheapest way to generate electricity bar none, helping to keep consumers’ bills down.”