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New strategy needed to address energy costs

THE news that a project to build Northern Ireland's first offshore wind farm has collapsed (News, December 2) poses serious questions about the role of wind in hitting renewable energy targets.

It is a shame to see an ambitious project brought to a halt.

However, it demonstrates that there are still serious difficulties with making wind power a viable, cost-effective energy source

Currently we don't have adequate infrastructure to access other energy markets and the Executive has no policy on the pricing of electricity in general.

Our most serious issues are around the costs of energy, which affect the competitiveness of manufacturing, in particular.

These are exacerbated by an arbitrary, unrealistic target to generate 40% of our electricity through renewable sources by 2020. We're not going to hit that figure and the Executive should be commissioning expert advice now, in order to develop a more achievable target.

In Northern Ireland, there are serious doubts about relying upon wind power to hit renewable energy targets.

Hydro-electricity, tidal energy, anaerobic digestion and geo-thermal have all played second fiddle to unsightly, costly wind farms.

The collapse of this latest project illustrates the urgency of reviewing Northern Ireland's energy mix.

It also underlines the importance of the Executive developing a strategy to tackle energy costs, rather than focusing only on changing the means of supply and increasing the percentage of renewable energy sources.

JOHNNY ANDREWS

NI Conservatives economy spokesman

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