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More than half Northern Ireland’s electricity supply now comes from renewables

New data has revealed that 51% of Northern Ireland’s electricity was generated by renewable sources in 2022, an increase of 9.7% on the previous year.

Furthermore, February of last year broke records when that figure reached 76.5%.

white windmill

Of all renewable electricity generated within Northern Ireland over the 12 month period January 2022 to December 2022, 85.3% was generated from wind. This compares to 82.1% for the previous 12 month period. Biogas and biomass combined accounted for about 9% with solar providing 3%.

7,494 Gigawatt hours (GWh) of total electricity was consumed in Northern Ireland in 2022, with 3,825 GWh generated from renewable sources located in Northern Ireland.

Steven Agnew, Director of RenewableNI, said: ‘While it is fantastic to see the renewable electricity generation achieve over 50 per cent for the first time, we need to more than double the generation to achieve the 80% target by 2030.  This increase is essential for the electrification of the heat and transport industries.

‘For the last four years Northern Ireland has stalled investment in the sector.  We have achieved 1.7GW capacity – we need an additional 2.5GW, but only 75MW a year of new generation has been connected.’

Northern Ireland’s  energy strategy  initially established a renewable electricity consumption target of 70 per cent by 2030. But that was increased to 80 per cent by 2030 by the Climate Change (Northern Ireland) Act 2022.

The Energy Strategy for Northern Ireland established a commitment to diversify the renewable generation mix with an initial focus on offshore wind and marine renewable.

Peter Russell, Director of Electricity and Security of Supply at the Department of Energy, said: ‘Our ambition of delivering 1GW of offshore wind energy is Northern Ireland’s most ambitious energy infrastructure plan, with the potential to supply enough energy to power one million homes.’

Steven Agnew again: ‘Last year NI consumers avoided paying £500 million to import gas last year because electricity provided by wind farms.  The industry will generate £5bn for the economy, create thousands of new jobs and provide energy security. Politicians need to support the renewable electricity industry to improve the climate and economy.’

image: Abby Anaday

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