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Foster Renewables Annoucment Welcomed by Wind Energy Bodies

03 April, 2009


The UK’s leading renewable energy trade association the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) has joined with its Irish counterpart the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA), in welcoming this week’s announcement by Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster on legislation to strengthen Northern Ireland’s renewable energy sector.

Maria McCaffery, BWEA Chief Executive, said: “This is the best possible route to support the local renewable energy sector. The Renewable Obligation has been very effective in delivering renewable projects into the planning system and ensuring investor confidence. It has also proved itself as a fine instrument in terms of support for specific technologies. The latest legislation will undoubtedly stimulate further investment in Northern Ireland’s energy sector.”

Michael Walsh IWEA Chief Executive added: “Europe as a whole is wasting no time in moving towards fulfilling the EU 2020 targets, which require the UK to source 15% of all energy from renewables. Northern Ireland will have an important part to play in these developments due to its excellent wind, wave and tidal resources.”

Maria McCaffery, BWEA Chief Executive concluded “Both the BWEA and IWEA commend the far reaching regulation and look forward to working with the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment on its forthcoming Strategic Energy Framework.”

The legislation increases levels of financial support for electricity generated from renewable sources under the Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation (NIRO), and is expected to have a significant positive impact on Northern Ireland’s budding offshore wind sector. The increase is to be regulated by the process of ‘banding’ of Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs), whereby specific forms of renewable generation qualify for increased amount of ROCs.

The latest measures will benefit a host of renewable technologies and are expected to keep Northern Ireland on course for reaching the target of generating 12% of electricity from renewables by 2012. Currently, Northern Ireland satisfies 7% of its consumption from renewable sources. Across the UK, it is estimated that the Renewables Obligation has brought forward close to 20GW of project applications into the planning system, over 10 GW of which have either been constructed or approved.

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