Belfast Telegraph

Nearly 45% of Northern Ireland's electricity renewable sources - 8% rise on last year

85.2% of Northern Ireland's renewable electricity was generated by wind (Danny Lawson/PA)
85.2% of Northern Ireland's renewable electricity was generated by wind (Danny Lawson/PA)

Nearly 45% of Northern Ireland's electricity usage has been generated by renewable energy sources over the past year.

It represents an increase of nearly 8% on the same period last year and is the second highest on record.

The figures recorded between October 2018 to September 2019, were reported in the Department for the Economy's latest report into electricity consumption and renewable generation in Northern Ireland.

In 2010, the Stormont Executive launched a Strategic Energy Framework which included a target of 40% of Northern Ireland's electricity to come from renewable sources by 2020.

Between October 2018 and September 2019 7,737 Gigawatt hours (GWh) of total electricity was consumed in Northern Ireland.

Of this, 3,475 GWh was generated from renewable sources.

Of all renewable electricity generated within this time period 85.2% was generated from wind, this compares to 83.9% for the previous 12 month period.

Renewable energy is energy that is collected from renewable resources, which are naturally replenished, such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat.

Chris Milligan, partner at law firm Arthur Cox, has a background in matters related to the renewable energy sector.

He said the latest figures reflected a long-term trend of increasing use of renewable energy, but said a new strategy was needed to take things forward.

“As we near 2020, it is clear that efforts to produce 40 per cent of all energy from renewables, in line with the existing Strategic Energy Framework have been successful," he said.

“However, that target was set well over a decade ago and industry figures are now calling for renewed policy guidance and a framework to map out the next phase in the development of renewable energy over the coming decades.

“We expect such a framework to include goals to accelerate decarbonisation, not only within the electricity market but those such as heat and transport."

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