Renewable energy now accounts for 36 per cent of north's electricity demand

The Soni control centre in Belfast

RENEWABLE energy accounted for a record 36 per cent of electricity used in Northern Ireland in 2018 (up from 31 per cent the year before), according to analysis from the System Operator for Northern Ireland (Soni).

These are the highest-ever levels of renewable generation on the local power system and are seen as an indication that Northern Ireland is on track to meet its target of 40 per cent of electricity coming from renewable sources by next year.

Soni general manager Robin McCormick said: “These figures are very reassuring in the context of the 2020 targets. We are pushing the laws of physics in order to meet the challenge of integrating increasing amounts of renewable energy on to the electricity system and it is encouraging to see the positive results of this work.”

Wind power makes up the vast majority of the renewable resources in Northern Ireland, followed by solar-power.

Soni says its ground-breaking Delivering a Secure Sustainable Electricity System (DS3) programme of work has helped made it possible to reach the 36 per cent. Under the programme, Soni is now managing up to 65 per cent renewable energy on the power system at any given time, a milestone reached last April.

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