£44m boost for Northern Ireland renewable energy generation

Electricity pylon

More than £44m for renewable energy in Northern Ireland has been approved by the Utility Regulator.

The investment will increase access to the electricity network for wind energy infrastructure in the north and west.

The regulator said it would be a major boost to the executive's target of 40% of electricity demand being provided from renewable sources by 2020.

The plans will now be put out for public consultation.

The Utility Regulator is the independent, non-ministerial government department responsible for regulating the electricity and gas industries and water and sewerage services in Northern Ireland.

Wind generation

The investment package includes £26m to increase the capacity of the Tamnamore sub-station to accommodate renewable generation, £2.6m for upgrades to the Kells-Coleraine circuit and £1.25m for pre-construction costs for a third circuit between Omagh and Tamnamore.

A further £14.75m has been earmarked for the completion of the capital works.

This investment is meant to ensure that the network can accommodate 1,000 megawatts of renewable wind generation.

Utility Regulator chief executive, Shane Lynch, said development of renewable generation in Northern Ireland was at an important stage.

"The overall investment is good news for Northern Ireland. It will be a major boost to the Northern Ireland Executive's target of 40% of electricity demand being provided from renewable sources by 2020," Mr Lynch said.

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