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Nearly half of Northern Ireland's electricity now comes from renewables says report

A wind farm near Carrickmore in Co Tyrone. Picture: Mal McCann
A wind farm near Carrickmore in Co Tyrone. Picture: Mal McCann

NORTHERN Ireland used more green energy last year to keep its lights on than it did in 2021, new government figures show.

The Department for the Economy's latest 'Electricity Consumption and Renewable Generation' report shows that in the 12 months to the end of March, 48.5 per cent of the north’s electricity use came from renewable sources, with 84.7 per cent of that being generated by onshore wind.

That represents an increase of 4.6 percentage points on the previous 12 month period.

The DfE report aids reporting on performance against the commitments in the north's ‘Path to Net Zero Energy’ strategy and the Climate Change Act target, which is to “ensure that at least 80 per cent of electricity consumption is from renewable sources by 2030.”

In terms of the volume of electricity consumption between April 2022 and March this year, some 7,471 gigawatt hours (GWh) of total electricity was consumed in Northern Ireland, with 3,620 GWh being generated from renewable sources.

But RenewableNI director Steven Agnew cautioned: “While these figures put Northern Ireland among world leaders, we can very quickly become laggers if there isn’t a radical change to our planning system.

“We are powering the energy revolution of the efforts of the previous decade.

“In the last four years just 70MW of new renewable generation has been connected.

“RenewableNI members alone have 85MW, enough to power 85,000 homes, which have been in the planning system for over three years."

Mr Agnew added: “We have a legal requirement to achieve 80 per cent renewable electricity by 2030. We need to meet the demands of the electrification of heat and transportation.

“But current timelines mean we won’t met these targets, so we need change to achieve it."