The future of renewables in Northern Ireland

12 August 2020

A Cornwall Insight and Ionic Consulting report that was commissioned by The Department for the Economy NI has been published by the department. The report – ‘Future of Renewables in Northern Ireland’ – provided an assessment of the current state of renewables in Northern Ireland as well as modelling for future renewable scenarios.

The commissioned report used extensive research on the outcomes of past policy, the current landscape of electricity in Northern Ireland as well as feedback from various stakeholders including national and local government, regulators and industry bodies. Cornwall Insight developed a high-level model to assess possible outcomes of different renewable electricity targets, including 70%, 55% and 40% by 2030.

Key findings

  • Although some onshore wind is likely to be created without subsidy support, it is questionable whether onshore wind would be able to meet renewable electricity targets of 55% or 70%. Therefore route-to-market support will be necessary.
  • Without the development of new generation assets in this decade, Northern Ireland could begin facing serious security of supply issues towards 2030 and beyond.
  • Diversity of technology is an important consideration from the perspective of both grid capacity and security of supply.
  • The ambition of the targets will have a material impact on the cost and extent of electricity grid build-out with forecast investment of between £388mn and £672mn required depending on the scenario.

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