By DARA BUTTERFIELD
Wind energy company Simple Power has officially launched seven new wind turbines in Counties Tyrone, Antrim, Down and in Londonderry as part of its programme to install a total of 200 x 250kW turbines across the region.
Recent research from PWC has revealed that if N. Ireland’s 40% renewable energy target is to be met with 250kW sized turbines, it could be worth at least £10 million per annum to local landowners and farmers over a 20-year period.
Simple Power has already started exporting power from the seven new turbines with electricity generated being fed back into the N. Ireland grid with the power purchased by Power NI – the region’s biggest electricity retailer – under a local power purchase agreement.
This brings the total number of turbines erected over the past four months to nine and marks a key step for its development strategy across the region. Set up in 2010, Belfast-based Simple Power is a privately owned company – partners also include NIE and Vergnet, the French-based wind turbine manufacturer which also operates in the UK.
Philip Rainey, Chief Executive, Simple Power, said: “We are delighted to complete the construction and commissioning of these seven turbines.
“The new turbines demonstrate growth not only for Simple Power, but also for the wind industry in Northern Ireland. Despite many challenges, the outlook continues to be promising for the renewables sector.
“Wind power has the potential to be a significant economic significance for this country, we are lucky to have the wind resources at our disposal.”
“The announcement by N. Ireland’s Enterprise, Trade and Development Minister Arlene Foster in the summer proposing that ROC levels, incentives for small scale onshore wind, should be maintained until at least 2017 is further proof of the potential for small scale wind energy.
“This decision will prove favourable as it allows sufficient time for investment to take place and provide a credible level of generating capacity.”