Green light for £44m wind energy upgrade

Published Tuesday, 18 December 2012
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A £44m plan to upgrade Northern Ireland's electricity network to allow more wind farms to connect to the grid has been provisionally approved by the Utility Regulator.

Green light for £44m wind energy upgrade
A £44m investment in the renewable energy source has been given the green light. (© Getty)

The work by Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE) will result in an increase in the amount of renewable generation in the north and west of the region.

The investment package given the green light by regulator Shane Lynch will see £26m of capital expenditure to increase the capacity of the Tamnamore sub-station in Co Tyrone - with £16m invested in the construction of a new circuit between Omagh and Tamnamore.

Another £2.6m will be spent upgrading the Kells-Coleraine electricity circuit.

The regulator will conduct a short public consultation before finalising the plans.

The developments will enable 1,000 MW of renewable energy to be accommodated on the network.

Currently, 451 MW of wind generation is connected to the grid in Northern Ireland, with a further 550 MW having received planning permission.

NIE is increasing its network tariff to pay for the upgrade.

The tariff, which makes up a fifth of an electricity bill, is expected to increase by around 1.5% for domestic consumers and around 5% for the largest industrial consumers.

Mr Lynch said it was an important stage in the development of renewable generation in Northern Ireland.

"The overall investment is good news for Northern Ireland," he said.

"It will be a major boost to the NI Executive's target of 40% of electricity demand being provided from renewable sources by 2020. We estimate that 1,000 MWs of wind on the system can provide 27% of electricity demand in 2020.

"The case made by NIE appears to represent good value for money. We will now conduct a short public consultation before finally giving the go-ahead to the projects."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Ken McLeod in Co Down wrote (771 days ago):
Wind turbines are the greatest scam of our time. Power NI estimate it will cost £500M to connect up the turbines planned. These monstrous avian killing machines increase CO2 production as they require spinning reserve normally from fossil fuelled generation, of up to 90% of their rated output plus 10% from the existing grid to control them, all at taxpayers cost. Other forms of generation cannot be wound up quickly enough to take over when the wind drops or exceeds the turbine's maximum speed. They are in fact an energy negative and do not replace power generated from other sources they simply add to the power available when the wind blows at the right speed. None of them are manufactured in the UK or Ireland. The promoters set up individual companies, even for a single farm turbine, because they know these machines are not sustainable and definitely not green. Agreements with land owners are usually with the 'new' company and if they close down who will get paid? There are four issues; Bio-diversity destruction, damage to human and animal health, increased CO2 emissions and huge rises in costs of power.
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