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Renewables

The sourcing of energy from renewable sources is here to stay whatever question marks hang over the future of the system of cash support. The dangers of climate change are too important to ignore. But in a period of uncertainty it is more important than ever to invest in the most efficient form of renewable technology. We aim to provide information to allow you to make the best choices.
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News

Marketing lesson for energy suppliers

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The quarterly reports on gas and electricity customer numbers from the Utility Regulator are normally low on surprises. This supplier has attracted a few more consumers. That one has lost some. It’s not quite a snores fest but hardly riveting reading.
How...
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Faster drying with plain sawn wood

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A fortnight ago I asked if we have been chopping up logs the wrong way if we accept that the right method would leave the wood in a state where it will dry more efficiently.
The most common technique, which I have used myself, is the the quarter sawn method which as the name ...
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Solar shines brightly

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Until relatively recently talk of large scale renewable generation in Northern Ireland meant wind farms. Turbines not only dominated the landscape, they made up the vast bulk of green power capacity.
Wind still predominates but solar power is beginning to assert itself. In re...
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Is NIE likely to appeal its price control?

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Will NIE Networks reject the price control announced by the Energy Regulator just before the weekend and appeal the matter to the Competition and Markets Authority?
The Regulator cut the amount of Capex and Opex that the company, a subsidiary of ESB, had wanted to spend over ...
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Mild winter helps to lower wholesale energy prices

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Wholesale energy prices here fell by nearly 18% in February as increased imports into the UK of LNG combined with mild weather continued to push prices downwards. However, the Vayu Energy Report shows that despite this substantial drop wholesale prices are still well up on a year ago.&n...
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An energy firm to watch

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The company which spotted that the wholesale cost of power went negative one morning last month is probably the most interesting Irish energy firm you’ve never heard of. Electroroute reported that for three half hour periods on December 9, suppliers were being paid to take electricity off the g...
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World breakthrough for Ireland's grid operators

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It’s one thing for wind farms to be able to generate large amounts of  electricity but it’s another being able to manage those volumes of intermittent energy on the network.That is the huge challenge the two grid operators on the island, including SONI here in Belfast, have been...
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Regulator plays down role of exports in power price surge

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 The Energy Regulator has rejected a claim that exports of electricity to Great Britain have been a major cause in driving up the wholesale cost of power here.
In a note to enirgy.info detailing the background to the recent rise in prices, the Regulator says sales to GB have ...
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Need to redo numbers for N/S Interconnector

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There’s one clear message coming through about the North South Interconnector. If the power link isn’t built, the lights may very well go out. Both the Energy Regulator and the company which operates the electricity system have issued statements to that effect. Anyone who reads or listens to th...
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Confused and contradictory energy policy

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On those days when the sun is shining but the wind isn’t blowing, our wind turbines sit idle.At ten thirty this morning wind farms were meeting just two per cent of our electricity demand. Filling the gap have been generators burning gas but also coal. Kilroot Power Station which use...
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Smart thinking about power

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Now that Stormont has put smart metering on the long finger, is there another way for consumers to catch up with the rest of the UK, help manage demand for electricity more efficiently and most importantly get rewarded for their co-operation?
The solution may well lie i...
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Phew! what a scorcher

For those who believe that climate change is now under control, there was a timely warning last week from Copernicus, the EU’s earth monitoring service.
Copernicus revealed that July was the hottest month the world has seen since records began in the nineteenth century....
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NIE's electric bill

NIE has announced it wants to invest around half a billion pounds in its network. The proposed expenditure, if approved by the Energy Regulator, would take place from 2017 onwards. 
Over half the money is earmarked for a renewal of assets. NIE makes the c...
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Plan to abolish price control for small business electricity market

The Energy Regulator is proposing to remove the price control which covers the supply of electricity to small businesses. Currently Power NI’s tariff for companies using up to 50 MWh a year has to be approved by the Regulator. The supplier has argued that switching is now frequent enough in thi...
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Want some electricity? The bill is on me.

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Not just free electricity. It’s even better than that. Across the water on Sunday May 8, according to energy data company @enappsys, generators paid more than £30 a MWh to be relieved of unwanted power. It’s not the first time this has happened and the phenomenon is set to become more common.
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Energy market generating new stories

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Perhaps it was the sunny weather but whatever the reason, there was quite a lot of energy news this week. And most of it was positive.
Topping the list was the revelation that the same brothers who have created a biomass power plant at Lisahally in Derry are p...
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Renewables expansion fails to stop greenhouse gas growth in Ireland

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Despite an expanding renewables energy sector, total energy related emissions of carbon dioxide in the Irish Republic rose last year by almost four per cent compared with the previous year. In the UK emissions fell by just under three per cent. There is no separate figure for Northern Ireland.
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Energy installer creates over 30 jobs

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Heating and renewable energy installer, CTS Projects, has announced the creation of 32 new jobs in the last 18 months, almost doubling employee numbers to a total of 70. The company, which is headquartered in Warrenpoint, has generated the employment as a result of wi...
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Wholesale gas prices to fall even further says Vayu

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Wholesale gas prices have fallen by 40 per cent over the course of the last twelve months according to the latest Wholesale Energy Market Report published by Vayu Energy. The company which recently announced an expansion into Northern Ireland put the collapse in prices down to abundant supplies...
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Power to the people

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High demand for low cost electricity has prompted an energy co-operative to launch another round of its programme to install solar panels free of charge for charities and community organisations.
Almost 40 bodies have already expressed an interest in the solar energy pr...
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Green energy accolade for Housing Executive manager

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Longstanding Housing Executive manager Noel Rice has picked up the top prize at the Annual Action Renewables Association Awards 2016. He beat off tough competition to win the Outstanding Award for Work in the Renewable Energy Sector.

Here's the assessment of Noel's role presented to gues...
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Record renewable power production

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Last year just over 25% of electricity consumption in Northern Ireland was generated from renewable sources based. That’s an increase of 6.4% on the previous12 months and is the highest rolling 12 month proportion on record. The vast bulk of green electricity produced in 2015 - just over 90% - ...
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Funding for Fair Head?

Fair Head Tidal say their planned 100 MW turbine installation off the North Antrim coast will produce enough power to satisfy the demands of 70,000 homes.
What this implies is that the turbines will have about a 25% efficiency which is comparable to the output of w...
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Fears over the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme

  How long can the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) programme continue to enjoy the level of support it has been receiving from Government? There is a worry that subsidy rates could be cut back. Some fear it could be even be closed to new entrants.
  C...
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Lower prices for gas and electricity

The cost of gas and electricity is set to fall as regulated suppliers review their costs.

Power NI started to examine its tariff before Christmas. It's understood that the company which has over half a million domestic customers will announce its new prices in February. They will come into ef...
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Fuel of the future

What is Europe's most significant renewable energy source? You might think wind given the number of turbines being erected from here right across the Continent. Or maybe you’d hazard a guess that the fall in the price of solar panels has pushed that form of renewable power to the top ...
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Turbines, toasters and televisions

The newly approved Cam Burn wind farm near Aghadowey will produce enough electricity to light up and power all the devices in 7,900 homes. That’s the claim by developer TCI Renewables. How do they work that out?
They start off with the installed capacity of the win...
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Pulling the plug on renewables

When I first started to compose my thoughts for this article on renewable energy, there was still a hope that the Department of Energy and Climate Change in London would cut us some slack on support for new onshore wind farms. It wasn’t a big ask. Letting the Renewables Obligation (RO) scheme r...
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Lawyer proposes all island renewable energy policy

A leading energy lawyer here has called for an island regime to support renewable energy. 

Richard Murphy of Pinsent Masons made the recommendation at the Northern Ireland Energy Forum held in Belfast on Sept 10. He said mirroring legislation from England & Wales had led to a sc...
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Wholesale cost of energy drops to new low

The firmus Energy Index touched a new low in July as world markets continue to be swamped by a surplus of oil. The Index, which tracks wholesale fuel prices in Northern Ireland, dropped to 74. That’s the lowest figure recorded since the benchmark was launched over five years ago. 
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£8 million a year to keep NIRO going?

The Department of Energy and Climate Change is planning to close one year early the Renewable Obligations (RO) support scheme for onshore wind turbines. DETI has said it will keep the scheme open here until 2017 but hasn’t revealed the bill that we will incur if we have to meet the cost from ou...
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Wholesale energy prices near six year low

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Continuing weakness last month in the global oil market has moved the firmus Energy Index close to a six year low. The widely regarded measure of Northern Ireland wholesale fuel costs fell by four per cent to stand at 84 in June. 
Oil prices had been recovering rec...
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New energy suppliers to break the mould?

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Three new energy suppliers are set to make their presence felt over the next few months.
Belfast based Open Electric has already declared its hand. It is building its appeal partly on a willingness to share its profits with consumers
Managing Di...
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Air power for east Antrim

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It sounds like science fiction but appears to be technologically feasible. A local renewable energy company wants to store compressed air deep underground – releasing it when needed to power electricity generators. Gaelectric, a major developer of wind farms, is planning th...
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Fifth of power needs from renewables

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New figures issued by the Department for Enterprise show how the output of green electricity is still growing.

For the 12 month period from April 2014 to March 2015, 19.9% of total electricity consumption in Northern Ireland was generated from renewable sources located in Northern Ireland....
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New wind farm plans under increasing threat

The future of subsidies for new wind farm developments is looking increasingly shaky in light of comments from the new Conservative Government and its Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd.
The Conservatives said in their election manifesto that they would end any new public subsidies...
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Solar Farm Unveiled

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Bombardier has just unveiled Ireland’s largest rooftop solar installation at its Belfast wing manufacturing and assembly facility on Queen’s Island. It comprises 14,000 PV panels which will generate 3000 MWh a year – equivalent to the electricity needs of 1000 homesThe arrangement of panel...
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Job Fears

Up to four thousand jobs could be lost in the small-scale renewable energy sector if Northern Ireland fails to find a replacement for Renewable Obligation Certificates or ROCs, which won’t be available to sustain new installations after March 2017.Michael Doran, the Director of Action...
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Curb on Green Power

A new discussion paper issued by DETI reveals the profound impact that reform of the electricity market across the UK will have on the renewable energy industry in Northern Ireland. Don’t be misled by its bland title: CFD Implementation in NI–Strategic issues. This document contains lots t...
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Industry Minister softens blow for PV industry

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The renewables industry breathed a sigh of relief when the Industry Minister announced the new rates of subsidy for small scale solar PV – that’s installations up to 50 kW. Originally it was proposed to cut the rate of support from 4 ROCs to 1.6 ROCs for new installations from Apr...
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Offshore wind farm plan abandoned

In a surprise move the company aiming to build Northern Ireland’s first major offshore wind farm has cancelled its plans saying it cannot meet a key Government deadline
First Flight Wind, a consortium involving B9 Energy and giant Danish company Dong Energy, had hoped to loca...
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is independently managed and funded. It receives no ‘click through’ fees or advertising revenue from the suppliers whose prices it compares. Research and analysis is provided by business journalist Jamie Delargy. more info