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Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland sets ambitious wind power target for 2020

UK: The Northern Ireland government is aiming to produce 600MW through offshore wind as it seeks to supply 40% of its energy needs with renewables by 2020.

Northern Ireland energy minister Arlene Foster
Northern Ireland energy minister Arlene Foster

The goal follows a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the waters around the province—the smallest area of the UK.

The SEA examined the likely impact of wind turbines and marine renewables on the environment and other interests or users of the sea such as environmental groups, shipping, fishing and tourism.

Northern Ireland has so far lagged behind the rest of the UK in developing wind energy off its shores. Currently, up to 40GW is under development or planned around Great Britain.

Northern Ireland energy minister, and stand-in first minister, Arlene Foster is consulting on the SEA and a draft Strategic Action Plan for meeting 600 MW of offshore wind as well as a 300 MW target for tidal energy.

The targets will help Northern Ireland meet its ambitious 2020 aim of 40% of electricity from renewables. Meantime, its interim 2012 target of 12% is likely to be met mostly by onshore wind.

Today renewables supply 8.5% of all Northern Ireland’s electricity. According to the SEA, the main potential for offshore wind is on the north and south-east coasts.

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