Belfast-based renewable energy firm Wind Energy Direct is in talks with a group of large energy user companies about installing their own on-site wind turbines.
The company believes the turbines could reduce electricity costs for large energy users by at least 10% in the first year and by up to 25% by year 15.
WED hopes to have 15 turbines in place across the island of Ireland within the next four years, and expects the first turbine in place and operational in 2010. WED will manage, finance, develop and maintain the projects.
The total investment for the turbines is forecast at almost £52m and at current prices, the company expects to make a return of approximately 15% on their investment.
Managing director Dominic Costello said: “This will be the first commercial initiative of its kind on the island of Ireland and is suitable for large energy users with significant 24/7 base loads such as factories, hospitals, data centres and companies with large heat or refrigeration requirements. Each turbine represents an investment of £3.5m on our part and has the potential to save companies up to £860,000 within five years of installation.
Mr Costello noted that there is no guarantee that Northern Ireland electricity prices will be coming down, despite the recent review by the Utilities Regulator.
“Wind turbine technology will provide a real alternative that will not only deliver significant cost savings, but will also help reduce a company’s carbon footprint. As part of the agreement, we pay for, install and maintain the turbine for the company and then sell surplus power generated to the national grid.
“Wind power is immune from the price volatility of conventional fossil-fuel generated electricity. Installing a turbine will deliver increased energy security and help companies hedge against escalating energy costs. Furthermore, in meeting part of their electricity requirements through wind energy, companies will be playing an important part in helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Northern Ireland.”
Wind Energy Direct said it has already had its first contract win with a large-scale Dublin-based company, which will be announced early next year.
The project involves the installation of two 2MW turbines on-site that will provide the company in question with significant savings on its energy bill.