Northern Ireland beats target of generating 40% of its power from renewable sources
Northern Ireland has surpassed its target of sourcing 40% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, according to a report.
Figures from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra) show that 44% of all electricity consumed for the 12 months ending June 30 had been generated from renewables.
That marks an increase from around 3% in 2005.
The 40% target had been set in the Strategic Energy Framework for Northern Ireland.
The Department for the Economy said the achievement was down to the efforts of bodies including energy watchdogs the Utility Regulator and Ofgem, as well as the System Operator for Northern Ireland, which operates the electricity grid.
Noel Lavery, permanent secretary at the Department for the Economy, added: "This is a momentous achievement which has been accomplished by the collective efforts of a number of key stakeholders over a sustained period, and I am grateful for the considerable contribution of all the players in the renewable electricity industry, the investors and operators small and large, SONI, NIE Networks, Invest NI, the Utility Regulator and Ofgem."
He said the Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation (NIRO) had been the main tool for increasing generation of renewables, boosting the proportion of renewable electricity from 3% when introduced 14 years ago.
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"The success of the NIRO means we now have a diverse energy mix which has strengthened our security of supply, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, lowered prices within the single electricity market and delivered economic benefits including inward investment and jobs creation," he added.
However, he said a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 would require far greater use of renewable energy.