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Northern Ireland’s onshore wind surges (But they still rely on fossil fuels for 74%)

June 27, 2017
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By Paul Homewood

 

Another naive report from Jillian Ambrose:

 

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The amount of onshore wind power connected to the Northern Ireland grid has breached the 1 gigawatt (GW) mark for the first time, meaning almost a quarter of the region’s electricity comes the renewable energy source.

 

Fresh data from NI Electricity Network has revealed the surge in connections just weeks after official figures showed that onshore wind rose to make up over 22pc of Northern Ireland’s electricity in the 12 months to the end of March.

By contrast, onshore wind makes up only 6pc of the electricity mix across the UK as a whole.

The climate-sceptic Democratic Unionist Party has presided over the onshore wind boom despite its political ambivalence to environmental concerns.

Emma Pinchbeck, from Renewable UK, said the driver has been chiefly economic.

“It sometimes gets overlooked in Westminster, but energy is a devolved issue in Northern Ireland,” she said. “Since 2010 we have seen a practical attitude and growth in support for clean energy projects which deliver investment and jobs into local communities.”

 

The Westminster-led subsidy scheme, the Renewables Obligation, shut its doors to onshore wind farms just over a year ago after former Prime Minister David Cameron said “enough is enough” for onshore turbines.

Now Northern Ireland is in the midst of putting together a new energy strategy with cross-party support for energy investment to flow into low-cost technologies to help keep a cap on consumer bills.

As on the UK mainland, Northern Ireland is under pressure to attract investment in new power generation as older fossil fuel plants steadily shut down. It currently relies heavily on imports from the Republic of Ireland but is eager to reduce this dependence.

“Northern Ireland needs power, and wants it to be cheap and to support the local economy. It’s a virtuous circle,” said Ms Pinchbeck.

“Onshore wind power is low cost and many major developers have sought out projects in Northern Ireland because the wind resources are so good there. This in turn means more benefits flow back to consumers, businesses and government alike,” she said.

Northern Ireland’s onshore wind industry has attracted £127.4m of local investment in 2017 alone, and hosts major onshore projects from developers including SSE, RES and local company Gaelectric.

The renewables and storage developer opened two wind farms last week totaling £41m of investment.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/06/26/northern-irelands-onshore-wind-share-surges-past-uk-average/

 

Hardly an article goes by from Jillian Ambrose that does not heavily feature comments from Renewable UK’s Emma Pinchbeck, who is of course paid to promote the interests of renewable operators.

So let’s look at some of the claims, no doubt inspired by Ms Pinchbeck:

 

1) Northern Ireland’s onshore wind share surges past UK average

A ridiculous comment. Onshore wind there has for years been above the UK average.

Back in 2012, according to government figures, it was already supplying 14% of N.Ireland’s power.

 

2) Emma Pincheck, from Renewable UK, said the driver has been chiefly economic.

“It sometimes gets overlooked in Westminster, but energy is a devolved issue in Northern Ireland,” she said. “Since 2010 we have seen a practical attitude and growth in support for clean energy projects which deliver investment and jobs into local communities.”

Drivel. The only reason why wind power has taken off there is subsidies from Westminster.

3) Now Northern Ireland is in the midst of putting together a new energy strategy with cross-party support for energy investment to flow into low-cost technologies to help keep a cap on consumer bills.

Onshore wind is not cheap, that is why it has needed subsidising via Renewable Obligation Certificates, that are worth about £44/MWh. This means wind farm operators earn approximately double the market price for the electricity they produce.

Last year, onshore wind in N Ireland generated 1778 GWh. At £44/MWh, this equates to a subsidy of £78 million. With a population of 1.8 million, this equates to £43 for every man, woman and child there. Fortunately for them though, the bill is shared across the UK.

 

4) It currently relies heavily on imports from the Republic of Ireland

According to the latest official figures for 2015, only 3% of N Ireland’s power came from the Republic.

In the same year, fossil fuels supplied 74%.

Perhaps Jillian might like to explain where N Ireland will get its power from when these plants are all shut down and the wind does not blow.

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https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/electricity-statistics

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21 Comments
  1. June 27, 2017 6:16 pm

    It sounds like the island (NI plus Eire) may be the first in Europe to follow S Australia down the blackout path. It’s no wonder they want interconnectors to the rest of the UK.

  2. June 27, 2017 6:27 pm

    OK when it’s windy. Blackouts when it’s not. Just remember why “Dusty” Miller gave up his windmill when he could buy a steam engine.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      June 28, 2017 12:35 pm

      Dusty Miller – don’t you mean Windy Miller? coming out to say hello to PC Mcgarry No. 452 coming past on his noddy bike, or Captain Snort and the boys from what must have been the world’s smallest fort, Mrs Honeyman etc. If old windy was around now think of the subsidy he would get.

  3. Curious George permalink
    June 27, 2017 6:39 pm

    “…reached the 1 gigawatt (GW) mark for the first time, meaning almost a quarter of the region’s electricity comes the renewable energy source.” Comes? Came? These creatures never supply GW-hours. I’ll call them a nameplate crowd.

  4. Graeme No.3 permalink
    June 27, 2017 8:01 pm

    “where N Ireland will get its power from when these plants are all shut down and the wind does not blow.” Obvious to the AGW mob, they will get it from solar. Send more subsidies.

    • Tom O permalink
      June 27, 2017 9:38 pm

      They will replace them with wheel cages, and have Leprechauns running in them.

  5. June 27, 2017 11:16 pm

    Steam engines fueled by wood pellets?

    Did they just get a get out of jail free card for reinforcing Missus May?

  6. Athelstan permalink
    June 28, 2017 12:20 am

    Fu kinnel, Gillian Ambrose is a special sort of crazy, on this ‘green crazy’ the telegraph has form; loulou. and remember this twerp?

    Grant me patience Lord and sweet reason.

    • Annie permalink
      June 29, 2017 4:54 am

      I remember them well; I looked at the links and laughed because it really wasn’t necessary. Louise was known as ‘Loopy Loo’ in our household.

  7. June 28, 2017 8:35 am

    ‘low-cost technologies’ – since when?

    Maybe they’d like to buy a bridge with their ‘savings’…
    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=i%20have%20a%20bridge%20to%20sell%20you

  8. June 28, 2017 9:39 am

    “The company had been warning for a number of years about the threat to the future of the Ballymena plant caused by high energy costs.”

    Michelin to close its tyre factory in NI:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-34710060

    • June 28, 2017 9:43 am

      “A major employer in Northern Ireland has said its business is threatened by proposed rises in energy costs to fund grants for onshore wind farms.”

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-33451570

    • Gerry, England permalink
      June 28, 2017 12:44 pm

      I note that the mention of energy costs has disappeared from the later article. BBC censorship at work? Interesting to see on the same page the tobacco company also moving out. I assume they are not so energy intensive as tyre production but in heading to Poland and Romania I suspect they will find energy much cheaper.

      • Athelstan permalink
        June 28, 2017 2:07 pm

        “I note that the mention of energy costs has disappeared from the later article. BBC censorship at work?”

        The beeb are advocates, they stopped reporting the truth – investigative journalism never steps foot into the offices of any beeb agency.

        Paid for by the taxpayer instead of defending truth and fighting for the great British public, these weevils of Cultural Marxism only protect the state and trumpet the Berlin-Brussels juggernaut. Where the wishes of the Westminster claque are a sideshow – witness the beebs blizzard of anti Donald Trump negative reportage – it disgusts as it reviles doing the work of the fanatics of left wing intolerance.

        Undoubtedly, they won’t allow any linkage to ‘poor mouth’ the great green scam, and tales of ‘energy costs’ driving out investors/industry is to blacken the green sunlit uplands.

        Liars and oxygen thiefs, the beeb shames and despoils the nation.

  9. June 28, 2017 12:33 pm

    Surges.

    Just what you want in your electrical grid😂😂😂😂

  10. StewGreen permalink
    June 28, 2017 3:53 pm

    What about wood burning ?
    I guess that wood is all hoovered up into the heating subsidy scheme.

  11. Timo Soren permalink
    June 28, 2017 5:34 pm

    Just look at NI electricity prices 1975-2000 almost constant at 5.5p / kwh Then wind energy, free energy. They have risen steadily to almost 15p/ kwh. A tripling in 16 years. Wow free energy.

  12. It doesn't add up... permalink
    June 28, 2017 7:03 pm

    I remember just how devastating to Northern Ireland were the energy price increases that followed the Iranian Revolution. It knocked industry sideways, killing off big producers like Monsanto’s Acrilan plant. Expensive energy can only repeat the dose of economic damage.

  13. Jack Broughton permalink
    June 28, 2017 8:27 pm

    In PEI today there is an article saying that major fossil fuel suppliers are supporting an initiative to ban plant emitting more than 550 g CO2 / kWh, which will stop most coal fired plant This is a totally arbitrary value chosen for one reason only: self interest. The list of supporters is primarily gas & oil suppliers and their equipment suppliers. Ethical business at work again and who will pay for their caring for the “environment”???

    • gallopingcamel permalink
      June 29, 2017 12:57 am

      I say go for it and see how long it takes for the entire grid to collapse.

      There is nothing like turning the lights out to bring people to their senses.

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