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United Kingdom

Six picked for first NFFO

The market for wind energy in Northern Ireland has been kick-started into life after wind schemes totalling some 30 MW rated capacity won contracts under the province's first Non Fossil Fuel Obligation. Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE) awarded contracts for 15.6 MW declared net capacity (DNC) to 20 renewable energy generators who will get a premium price for their electricity. Wind energy dominates the obligation with six projects of around 2 MW DNC (5 MW installed capacity) each. Two other technologies are represented: five sewage gas projects totalling 560 kW DNC and nine small scale hydro schemes totalling 2374 kW.

In implementing the 1994 order, NIE has taken the first step towards meeting the government's target of 45 MW of renewable energy in the province by the year 2005. Renewable developers began tendering last summer, with contracts going to the lowest bidders within each of the three technology bands, with the band sizes set by government. Competition for contracts was fierce, resulting in prices lower than predicted, that says NIE. Power will be sold to NIE at the price bid in the tendering process. Contracts will run for 15 years from 1 April 1994, which is an extra incentive to developers to get schemes up and running without delay.

Larne-based wind developer B9 Energy Services has succeeded in securing contracts for all three of the projects it bid in to the NFFO process. According to B9's David Surplus the company plans to install ten, 500 kW machines on each of the sites and already has planning permission for two sites: Rigged Hill in County Londonderry and Slievenahanaghan in Antrim. Surplus says he has yet to make a final decision on who the turbine supplier will be.

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