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SSE Renewables: NI needs ambitious energy policy

18th September 2020

SSE Renewables: Time for ambitious renewable strategy for NI

18 September 2020 

Leading energy developer, SSE Renewables has called for the new NI Energy strategy to set ambitious 80% renewable targets and a clear strategy for decarbonisation for the energy sector. 

The call came as the energy firm addressed an audience at an Invest Northern Ireland virtual event on the opportunities for renewable energy development and the work SSE Renewables is doing to develop off shore energy projects in Republic of Ireland. The Department for the Economy is currently considering the response to the consultation it held earlier this year on the future energy strategy for Northern Ireland, and SSE Renewables have set out their views on how the new strategy offers a unique opportunity for Northern Ireland to become a leader in renewable energy. 

SSE Renewables is a leading developer, owner and operator of renewable energy across the UK and Ireland, with a portfolio of around 4GW of installed onshore wind, offshore wind and hydro energy capacity, making it the largest renewables company operating across the UK and Ireland. They are currently developing a major 520 MW offshore wind farm at Arklow. 

SSE Renewables is Northern Ireland’s leading renewable energy generator, with over half a billion pounds invested in the development of its onshore wind farms here since 2008. The company’s renewable energy capacity in Northern Ireland is 121.5MW, enough to power over 105,000 homes here each year and offset almost 100,000 tonnes of harmful carbon dioxide emissions annually. This includes Northern Ireland’s largest wind farm, the 73MW Slieve Kirk Wind Park and the 34.5MW Tievenameenta Wind Farm in Co. Tyrone. SSE Renewables is also planning to develop a £150 million wind farm near Cookstown in Co. Tyrone, which would represent its single biggest investment in the economy here to date.

Speaking following the Invest NI  virtual event, Barry Kilcline, Director of Development at SSE Renewables said 

"Energy policy in Northern Ireland over the last decade has become increasingly dominated by the role played by renewable energy. The construction of wind farms and other renewable projects saw the target of 40% renewable energy production achieved and exceeded ahead of schedule, bringing economic benefit alongside the benefit to consumers. 

"At SSE we believe that Northern Ireland needs to adopt ambitious climate and energy targets to set a path for our energy transition toward a decarbonised economy, while also providing value for money for consumers and ensuring ongoing security of supply.

"By 2030 we should target a renewable electricity contribution of 80%, an ambitious but achievable target. To deliver on this ambition, Northern Ireland must activate a support scheme, which helps meet the up-front cost, along with effective planning and grid policy, similar to the schemes in operation in the rest of the UK or in the Republic of Ireland.

"Over the last 10 years SSE has developed significant wind farms, including Slieve Kirk in Co Derry-Londonderry and Tievenameenta in Co Tyrone, which provided significant direct and indirect economic benefit during construction, and long-term community support through the SSE Community Fund. Doubling the renewable energy output will be an important economic driver for Northern Ireland’s construction sector.”

He concluded "At SSE we want to be part of a successful shift to a net zero carbon future, and with the right policy, support and culture changes, we know that Northern Ireland can play its part in tackling climate change.”

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