Fifteen years ago, hardly any of the electricity we use in Northern Ireland came from renewable sources like wind and solar power. Polluting fossil fuels, many of them sourced from distant lands, were our staple. But all that has changed. In the year to March 2020, renewable sources provided almost 47% of our power, easily hitting the Northern Ireland Executive’s target of 40% by 2020. It is a remarkable achievement, good news for the environment and our energy security. But the scheme that did much of the heavy lifting to get us there, the Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation (NIRO), is under ongoing scrutiny. The focus has fallen particularly on single turbines. Those between 50kW and 250kW, the kind we have all grown more used to seeing, spinning in solitude in our verdant landscape. Eight hundred of them have sprung up around us in the past 15 years. Single turbines generate just 13% of our electricity from wind and yet get 40% of the subsidy for wind power. Was this part of the scheme more costly than it needed to be? Was a ‘green’ scheme as friendly to our environment as it should have been?
BBC 13th Dec 2020 read more »