Irish Wind Farm Comes Online

UK Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister, Ian Pearson, announced an increase of 80 percent in Northern Ireland’s renewable energy generation capacity as he opened the largest wind farm on the island of Ireland at Altahullion outside Limavady.

Limavady, Ireland – July 7, 2003 [] “Today is a very significant day in the development of renewable energy in Northern Ireland,” Pearson said. “This wind farm will generate 26 MW of energy – that’s enough electricity for around 20,000 homes.” The project was developed by Larne-based B9 Energy and Renewable Energy Systems (RES), and output of the wind farm has been purchased under contract by Energia, part of the Viridian Group. “We have made huge strides since the installation of the first wind turbine in Northern Ireland in 1991, and Government is determined to support the development of a truly sustainable energy system for Northern Ireland – in sensible locations that are sensitive to the needs of the local and wider community,” Pearson said. The UK’s Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment’s draft 10 year Energy Strategy includes the aim to develop enough new renewable energy generation to supply 12 percent of the UK’s electricity by 2012. Consultation on this strategy has now closed for complete the analysis of responses, and the department said that a preliminary review of the feedback indicates significant support for this target. “Government and industry must build on the achievements of the last 10 years and work together to build capacity in Northern Ireland,” Pearson said. The publication today of the Network Study and the Tidal Stream report are an important part of the process to determine what level of renewable generation is attainable in Northern Ireland and at what cost. The department, together with the Viridian Group, is also supporting the creation of a new taskforce called ‘Action Renewables’ which will carry out a baseline audit of public support for renewables, take forward essential promotional work, implement a program of education and support communities wishing to sponsor specific renewable energy projects. Action Renewables will be formally launched in the fall. Pearson added that legislation will soon be introduced to implement the obligation as soon as is practicable after April 2004, and the forthcoming Energy Bill will create a UK-wide market for the trade of renewable obligation certificates from around April 2005. “I am confident this plan of action, developed in partnership with the energy industry, will encourage everyone to rise to the challenge and succeed in helping renewables come of age,” Pearson said. “This exciting development at Altahullion demonstrates what can be achieved with the support of the local community and an appropriate market place. Today’s opening marks an important step on the road to developing a truly sustainable energy system for Northern Ireland.”
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