Northern Ireland must lead the way towards clean energy growth and leave fossil fuels to the past
letter of the day: renewable revolution
THE publication of the Government's Clean Growth Strategy is good news for Northern Ireland. The focus on home energy efficiency, clean power, electric cars and planting new woodlands will mean jobs, lower bills and cleaner air.
Offshore wind power provides an enormous opportunity for Northern Ireland. Harland & Wolf f are now experts in the construction of giant offshore wind turbines. The white towers rising from the shipyard point towards a green-powered future. Recent energy auctions for offshore wind power have set "astounding" prices well below those of nuclear power and even gas.
Giant battery technology that can store energy from renewables is also getting cheaper very quickly. AES Energy Storage installed the UK's largest battery at Kilroot power station in 2016.
The Department for the Economy's Wind Map for Northern Ireland web page says: "Northern Ireland is regarded as having one of the greatest wind energy resources in Europe." A 2011 Northern Ireland Offshore Renewable Energy Strategic Energy Action Plan found that we have also have excellent wave and tidal energy resources.
But has this plan been implemented? Where are the offshore wind farms? According to the Crown Estate offshore wind electricity map, we have none. A renewable energy revolution is under way. Northern Ireland needs to be leading the way towards clean growth - not stuck in a dirty, fossil-fuelled past, as some denialists would have us.
Lurgan, Co Armagh