Wind blows Northern Ireland past renewable target

Northern Ireland’s Strategic Energy Framework had set a schedule for renewable energy generation to achieve 40 per cent of the country’s total electricity generation by 2020. In the 12 month period between July 2018 and June 2019, 44 per cent of the country’s electricity was generated from renewable sources, putting Northern Ireland ahead of its target. According to a report from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra) and the Department for the Economy, this represents a 7.4 per cent increase in renewable electricity generation on the previous year.

The data has also indicated that the average percentage for electricity consumption from renewable sources exceeded 40 per cent over the year. This is a significant increase from the previous decade. In the year ending in June 2009, roughly 8.1 per cent of total electricity consumption in Northern Ireland was generated from renewable sources, showing a more than five-fold increase over the decade.

These increases have been largely attributed to Northern Ireland’s domestic wind capacity. The report shows that 85.3 per cent of renewable electricity generated in the country came from wind sources over the year. Biogas came second at just 5.5 per cent. However, the other non-wind renewable sources have shown substantial increases as well. Between 2014 and 2019, the electricity generated by non-wind renewable sources increased by 396.7 GWh.

The Department for the Economy has said that the achievement is due to the efforts of regulators like the Utility Regulator and Ofgem, as well as the System Operator for Northern Ireland, and that the increases in the prevalence of renewable energy in Northern Ireland has improved energy security, cut emissions and delivered job opportunities to the country.

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