A new report has revealed that in 2023, Northern Ireland spending on gas was cut by £243 million by local wind energy generation.
The figures come from Wind Energy Ireland’s Annual Report and a new analysis published by energy specialists Baringa entitled Cutting Carbon Cutting Bills: Analysis of gas savings delivered by wind farms in 2023.found that, without wind energy, Northern Ireland would have had to spend an additional £176 million on gas, most of which would have been imported, for power generation and an extra £68 million on carbon credits to burn that gas.
They also estimated Northern Ireland wind turbines saved approximately 920 kilo tonnes of carbon last year, equivalent to the amount of carbon produced by 200,000 homes.
The latest figures from the Department for the Economy’s Electricity Consumption and Renewable Generation in Northern Ireland: Year Ending September 2023 showed that 47.4 per cent of total electricity consumption in Northern Ireland was generated from renewable sources. Of this, 83.8 per cent was generated by wind.
Director of RenewableNI, Steven Agnew, said:
“Northern Ireland was able to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels last year because of investment in renewable energy in the previous decade. In 2016 we connected 400MW of new renewable generation but only 86MW of large-scale generation has been connected this decade.
“Investment in the sector has stalled. The Accelerating Renewables report revealed 82per cent of global developers considered Northern Ireland an unattractive investment location for renewables. More than $350 billion of capital has poured into renewable infrastructure investment around the world in the first half last year yet Northern Ireland has attracted virtually nothing.
“Two years ago, the final act of the Assembly was passing the Climate Bill making it a legal obligation to have 80 per cent renewable generation by 2030. Unfortunately nothing has changed since then. Planning timelines, grid investment and a route to market remain barriers to development.
“As more generation becomes available consumers will have increased energy security and protection from volatile fossil fuel prices, as well as cutting our carbon emissions.
“An Accelerating Renewables Taskforce needs established urgently to ensure NI gets back on track for meeting its renewables target.”
For media inquiries please contact Judith Rance, Communications and Events Manager, RenewableNI, Judith.Rance@RenewableNI.com, 07875-681-794.
Notes to editors
• Read the Baringa report Cutting Carbon Cutting Bills: Analysis of gas savings delivered by wind farms in 2023.
• Read the KPMG report Accelerating Renewables in Northern Ireland www.RenewableNI.com/policy
• DfE’s Electricity Consumption and Renewable Generation report, published in December 2023 showed between October 2022 to September 2023, some 7,357 Gigawatt hours (GWh) of total electricity was consumed in Northern Ireland. Over the same period, some 3,487 GWh was generated from renewable sources located in Northern Ireland.