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Coal-free record for Northern Ireland power grid

The grid in Northern Ireland operated without coal between April 11 April and May 7 - a total of 25 days.

THE north has just completed a record length of time without using coal-fired electricity generation on the power system.

New analysis from SONI, (System Operator for Northern Ireland) shows that the grid in Northern Ireland operated without coal between April 11 April and May 7 - a total of 25 days.

This was replicated in the Republic, meaning that this is the longest period of time the island's integrated electricity system has run without coal since the all-island electricity market was introduced in 2007.

Over the 25-day period, gas made up 60 per cent of the fuel mix, while renewable energy, mainly wind, accounted for 30 per cent. Coal-fired generation was available during this period but was not as competitive as other generators.

Robin McCormick, general manager of SONI described it as a "really positive development".

“We at SONI are acutely aware of the challenges facing Northern Ireland in terms of meeting our greenhouse gas emission targets through the deployment of more renewable energy on the grid,” he said.

The electricity grid on the island of Ireland is world-leading when it comes to the amount of renewable energy on the power system, handling up to 65 per cent at any given time.

Last year, 38 per cent of Northern Ireland's electricity came from renewable energy sources, a new record.

The target set for the electricity system in Northern Ireland is for 40 per cent of electricity to come from renewable sources by 2020.

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