The Northern Ireland Renewables Industry Group (NIRIG) has announced that last year saw records broken for renewable wind energy production in Northern Ireland to the tune of 506MW on 17 December.
According to the NIRIG, this was a hugely important milestone as it is the first time wind energy has contributed more than 500MW to the energy needs of the people of Northern Ireland which accounts for 36pc of its total electricity needs.
The NIRIG represents some of the largest renewable organisations on the island, including the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA) and RenewableUK.
“These record-breaking levels were facilitated by an additional 59.8MW of wind energy being connected to the electricity grid in 2013, bringing our total installed wind farm capacity to 531.4MW, which equates to 345,410 homes being powered,” said Gary Connolly, outgoing chairman of the NIRIG.
"Our renewable energy target of 40pc electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2020 will be within sight if we continue to have a healthy and consistent build-out rate for renewables.”
Good news, north and south
Connolly also had great news for the Republic of Ireland's own wind energy production figures. “In the Republic of Ireland, by 7am on 15 December 2013, a staggering 59.99pc of electricity demand was being met by wind energy. Indeed throughout the month of December, wind provided, on average, almost 30pc of demand in the Irish system.”
By current estimates, onshore wind farms in Northern Ireland have the potential to contribute almost stg£1m annually to its economy through rates, while the overall potential annual value of the renewable market to Northern Ireland is estimated to be almost stg£2bn per annum by 2020 across a range of sectors.