The publication of the government’s Clean Growth Strategy is good news for Northern Ireland.
The focus on home energy efficiency, clean power, electric cars and planting new woodlands will mean jobs, lower bills, and a cleaner air in our cities.
Off-shore wind power provides an enormous opportunity for Northern Ireland. Harland and Wolff now are now experts in the construction of giant off-shore wind turbines.
The white towers rising from the shipyard point towards a green powered future. Recent energy auctions for off-shore wind power have set “astounding” prices well below those of nuclear power and even gas.
Giant battery technology, that can store energy from renewables, is also getting cheaper very quickly. AES Energy Storage installed the UK largest battery at Kilroot power station in 2016.
The Department for the Economy’s ‘Wind Map for Northern Ireland’ web page says, “Northern Ireland is regarded as having one of the greatest wind energy resources in Europe”.
A 2011 NI Offshore Renewable Energy Strategic Energy Action Plan found that we have also have excellent wave and tidal energy resources.
But has this plan been implemented? Where are the giant offshore wind farms? According to the Crown Estate offshore wind electricity map, we have none.
A renewable energy revolution is under way. Northern Ireland needs to be at the leading the way towards ‘Clean Growth’, not stuck in a dirty fossil fuelled past as some denialists would have us.
Stephen Trew, Lurgan