The Utility Regulator today signalled its intention to approve over £44 million of investment to facilitate renewable wind generation. The investment will increase the amount of renewable generation in the north and west of Northern Ireland that can access NIE’s transmission network.
The investment package comprises:
• £26 million of capital expenditure to increase the capacity of the Tamnamore sub-station to accommodate renewable generation;
• £2.6 million for upgrades to the Kells-Coleraine circuit; and
• £1.25 million for pre-construction costs for a third circuit between Omagh and Tamnamore with a further £14.75 million earmarked for the completion of the capital works.
This investment should ensure that the network can accommodate 1000 MW of renewable wind generation. Currently, 451 MW of wind generation is connected in Northern Ireland and a further 550 MW has received planning permission. Network tariffs(2) are expected to increase by around 1.5% for domestic consumers and around 5% for the largest industrial consumers.
Commenting on the investment, Utility Regulator Chief Executive, Shane Lynch said:
“We are at an important stage in the development of renewable generation in Northern Ireland.
“The overall investment is good news for Northern Ireland. It will be a major boost to the NI Executive’s target of 40% of electricity demand being provided from renewable sources by 2020. We estimate that 1000 MWs of wind on the system can provide 27% of electricity demand in 2020.
“The case made by NIE appears to represent good value for money. We will now conduct a short public consultation before finally giving the go-ahead to the projects.”