On Global Wind Day, SSE Renewables celebrates the importance of onshore wind for Northern Ireland and sets out priority reforms that will ensure Northern Ireland can meet the renewable energy targets ahead of 2030.
Speaking on Global Wind Day, SSE’s Ireland Chairman Mark Ennis outlined how SSE can help deliver on the action needed to drive more ambitious renewable energy targets for the region in the future.
“As the island’s largest developer and operator of onshore wind, we want to do much more, in partnership with Government, to ensure Northern Ireland maximises its renewable energy potential. Onshore wind has been the primary pillar in delivering for our renewable energy targets to date, but there is much left to do if renewable energy is to deliver by the end of the decade.
“By way of example, Tievenameenta Wind Farm in Co. Tyrone is SSE’s most recently constructed wind farm in Northern Ireland. It’s also the last wind farm that we built here, nearly 6 years ago in 2017. While there is no denying the opportunity of offshore wind, if Northern Ireland is to meet an 80% target by 2030, more onshore wind will ultimately need to be delivered. We won’t just need to build one more wind farm like Tievenameenta, but likely, we’ll need to build dozens. If we’re to meet this challenge, strategic reform to our planning and energy policy will be a necessity. There is simply no time to lose.”
Also speaking on Global Wind Day, SSE Renewables’ Head of Onshore Development for Ireland, Ghislain Demeuldre said the occasion was an important opportunity to discuss the changes needed for how we plan for and develop renewable energy projects.
“Northern Ireland is now committed to sourcing 80% of energy from renewable sources. If we are to reach that target, we will need a more efficient and effective planning policy framework. The Department for Infrastructure is currently reviewing renewable planning policy and we will be making a comprehensive submission to the consultation.
“As the UK and Ireland’s leading renewable energy developer, we want to see action to deliver a more coordinated and consistent approach to planning policy. Put bluntly, planning decisions can often take too long, and far too often, the weight given to public opinion in planning decisions can sometimes run contrary to the targets set in our own Northern Ireland Energy Strategy and the Climate Change Act passed by the Assembly last year.
“The current consultation with the Department for Infrastructure is an opportune moment to review Northern Ireland’s strategic planning policy and ensure it can deliver a sustainable pipeline of renewable energy projects. That way we can guarantee onshore wind farms can continue to deliver for Northern Ireland’s climate goals, including 2030 targets.”