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.

Comparing central heating costs

For the vast majority of people, no matter what you use to heat your house you are exposed to a greater or lesser extent on world fuel prices. The fluctuations in these costs will determine whether you find yourself paying an increasing or decreasing amount to keep your home warm.

Earlier this year those households using home heating oil got a huge boost as the cost of crude dropped sharply. The oil price has recovered somewhat but has still not returned to where it was at the start of the ye...

Last updated on 29/10/2020
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SONI sees key role for offshore wind in future power mix

Offshore wind generation has a vital role to play in Northern Ireland's contribution to the battle against global warming, according to the organisation which oversees the electricity transmission system here. In its recent publication, Tomorrow's Energy Scenarios NI, SONI has outlined three separate pathways towards the decarbonisation of the local economy. The most ambitious programme envisages reaching a net zero emissions power system by 2040 in spite of the grid having to cater for greatly ...

Published on 17/08/2020
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Repowering Kilroot with gas turbines boosts security of supply but Grid Operator still stresses importance of N/S Interconnector

The SONI Managing Director welcomes the upcoming conversion of Kilroot Power Station from coal to gas. Jo Aston says the development will help reduce our carbon footprint and secure longterm jobs. Acknowledging that the installation at the site of two Open Cycle Gas Turbines with a combined capacity of over of 400MW will bring NI great security of supply, she nevertheless says it's still very important to build a new North South Interconnector to support the drive to net zero carbon by 2050.

Published on 11/06/2020
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Professor calls for halt to new fossil fuel development

Geraint Ellis, a Professor in the School of Natural and Built Environment at Queen's University, has expressed his opposition to a further extension of the natural gas network and the creation of more power stations. In an interview with enirgy.info, he says there are renewable energy alternatives. More broadly he stresses the importance of linkages between the Department for the Economy's energy strategy and the actions of other government departments.

Published on 22/05/2020
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Fall in demand limited size of Power NI price cut

The Electricity Regulator has welcomed the near 5% reduction in Power NI's tariff. The decrease which will come into effect at the start of July will reduce the average household domestic electricity bill by close to £30. However Jenny Pyper says the cut would have been much more significant had it not been for a fall in total electricity demand as a result of Covid-19 which left fixed costs being smeared over a smaller number of units.

Published on 12/05/2020
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Head of NIRIG sets out ambitious target for renewable electricity

The head of NIRIG, Steven Agnew, says Northern Ireland should aim to generate 80% of its power needs from renewable electricity by 2030. The former Green Party leader also says NI will have to play its part along with the rest of the UK in reaching net zero carbon by 2050.

(See interview in video below)

Published on 06/05/2020
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Will the cost of electricity come down

On Sunday April 5, the main wholesale market here for electricity went negative. Instead of paying, people got paid, for taking supplies of power from the Day Ahead Market. Now that’s not that unusual. There have been short periods before where charges have gone negative. But this was the first time that it happened to the average price across an entire day But let’s not get too carried away. At the price recorded, acquiring each kWh put just 0.2 pence in the pockets of buyers. It hasn’t exactly...

Last updated on 16/04/2020
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The falling cost of central heating

The price of oil has been falling through the floor. Last Monday Brent crude dropped below twenty two dollars a barrel, a level not seen in almost twenty years.

This collapse in the cost of the black stuff, brought about by a slump in demand and a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, has brought some welcome relief to homes using home heating oil. The average cost of five hundred litres is now just under £194. Those households are not the only ones to see a decrease in their centra...

Last updated on 07/04/2020
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Smart grid offers cost savings to Coleraine householders

Residents of a public sector housing estate in Coleraine are to be offered the chance to get access to free, green electricity for about a year and a half after their area was chosen to be part of Northern Ireland’s first smart grid. 

Around a hundred homes in the as yet unnamed estate will be equipped both with solar panels to generate power and large 11 KWh batteries to store it. Ten local businesses will also participate in the new grid. It's been estimated households could see a forty pe...

Published on 24/02/2020
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Energy issues facing us in 2020

A new decade doesn’t necessarily usher in a new era but as far as energy is concerned 2020 is set to be the start of a revolution in how we heat our homes, travel to work and transport our goods. Driving the change is a UK Government commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050, an objective we will necessarily be tied into in spite of energy being a devolved matter.

Electric cars are still a rarity on our roads. There are currently around three thousand ultra low emission vehicles out of a total ...

Published on 21/01/2020
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Help shape new NI energy strategy urge Stormont officials

The process of replacing Northern Ireland’s out of date energy strategy has taken another step forward.An appeal to energy professionals, academics and consumer representatives for ideas to help inform and shape a new energy framework has been launched by the Department for the Economy. After a review of submitted evidence, officials intend to issue an options paper next summer with the aim of presenting a draft strategy to a future Executive by the end of next year.The Call for Evidence comes s...

Last updated on 06/05/2020
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New source of renewable fuel

A researcher at Queen’s University has developed a process to transform barley waste from breweries into a range of products including renewable fuel, charcoal for barbecues and water filters.Dr Ahmed Osman from the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering says the technique is low cost and involves only a few steps. The grain is dried out and two common and cheap chemicals are applied - phosphoric acid and potassium hydroxide. This produces activated carbon and carbon nanotubes both of whic...

Published on 27/11/2019
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Rise in sales of electric and hybrid cars

We’ve been in the slow lane as far as the take up of electric and hybrid cars is concerned but are now beginning to pick up speed. The latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) released to enirgy.info show that combined sales of battery electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles in the year to date reached 2860. That’s a 34% increase from the 2135 sold in the same period last year. The surge in sales is more startling given th...

Last updated on 14/11/2019
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Bright future forecast for offshore wind farms

Rosy pictures are often painted for the future of renewables but what makes this latest one stand out is the astonishing contribution it predicts the offshore wind industry is poised to make.The International Energy Agency says by only using sites close to shore, wind turbines, which currently supply just a third of one per cent of global electricity production, could more than meet current world demand for power. Moving into deeper water, using floating turbines, could have a far greater potent...

Last updated on 07/11/2019
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Is this a solution to intermittency of renewables

A reliable electricity system based almost wholly on renewables is not just a lot of hot air, it’s a lot of cold air.

UK based Highview Power’s solution to the intermittency of green sources of power is cryogenic technology relying on chilled air.  Using off peak energy, air is turned into liquid at close to minus 200 degrees centigrade and stored until it’s needed. When renewable power drops off because the wind stops blowing or the sun isn’t shining, the air is allowed to heat up. As it expa...

Last updated on 06/05/2020
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Cheapest way to heat your home

What is the cheapest way to heat your home? I’ve been comparing four fuels which over the years have been commonly used for central heating. The current league leader by a small margin is coal in the form of anthracite grains or beans which can been loaded into a gravity fed boiler. This fuel is not nearly as popular as it used to be but some homes still use it.Of far more interest I suspect is the battle between home heating oil and natural gas. At the moment gas is maintaining its lead. The pr...

Last updated on 07/11/2019
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Searching for the cheapest electricity supply

Looking for the cheapest electricity supply should be simple. You check what each company is charging keypad and credit customers for a unit of electricity and, depending on what service you want, you make your choice accordingly. But the selection of the best value deals has become more complicated. You have to consider how much any bonuses on offer will reduce the bill and then, if relevant, how much charges will put the cost up. And also you need to be mindful if you’re on a contract what you...

Last updated on 07/11/2019
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Need for more transparency on costs

Should we be concerned about the price increases in the domestic electricity market which have just taken place? Most were quite modest varying from around six to eight per cent. In cash terms from £32 to £44 a year. That’s less than a pound a week, a figure which many households could easily accommodate. So then, nothing to get too bothered about.  But hold on. This is the third year in a row that electricity prices have risen. If we focus on Power NI’s tariff, which is painstakingly analysed a...

Last updated on 07/11/2019
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How green is my supplier

Click Energy emerges as the greenest domestic supplier in Northern Ireland. Each megawatt hour of power it supplies has 115 kg of carbon content. Second is SSE Airtricity with a carbon content of 295kg Suppliers have been able to offer less environmentally damaging power because of changes in the sources of energy used for generationFossil fuels such as coal and even gas are being used less and less as the electricity system accommodates more renewables.

The share of electricity consumption eac...

Last updated on 07/11/2019
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Power Shock

The cost of electricity is rising again. Power NI has just announced a six per cent increase in its tariff. The hike, when it comes into effect at the beginning of October, will add around £35 a year to the average customer's bill.It follows two previous increases by Power NI: a fourteen per cent price jump last year and a near six per cent boost in 2017.This latest announcement is somewhat surprising since it comes as global gas prices, which are the normal driver of wholesale electricity costs...

Last updated on 06/05/2020
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Price jolt

Hopes of a cut in electricity prices this autumn are crumbling away. In fact it’s distinctly possible that when the current review of costs is complete, the regulated tariff which is offered by Power NI may go up instead of down. This is surprising to say the least given the fall in gas costs which drive wholesale electricity prices.As ever with energy matters, the reasons for this unexpected turn of events are many and complex.One factor is the plan by NIE Networks to increase the Distribution ...

Published on 10/07/2019
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The incredible shrinking domestic energy usage

This article could be subtitled; why your energy bills have been falling even when there was no movement in the cost of gas and electricity. Ten years ago, according to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) , the average home here, not on Economy 7, was using 4000 units or kWhs of electricity a year. The range was pretty wide. In Belfast a typical household got through 3,500 units annually while in three old council districts, Armagh, Down and Magherafelt usage was c...

Published on 03/07/2019
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Marketing lesson for energy suppliers

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.However the most recent edition contained a bit of shocker. It showed that Budget Energy had lost more than twenty per cent of its domestic customers in the first quarter of this year. That’s a big drop. In actual numbers it was a decline from 61,70...

Published on 05/06/2017
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Faster drying with plain sawn wood

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 suggests means splitting the logs as you would cut up a cake.  But the scientific literature would suggest that the plain sawn approach is more effective. That involves slicing the log through the centre with subsequen...

Published on 18/04/2017
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Solar shines brightly

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 recent weeks we have seen two major solar projects linked up to the electricity network. Up near Rasharkin, German owned Baywa r.e. has had a 46 MW array connected to the grid. The output of the Bann Road site has been secu...

Published on 14/04/2017
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Is NIE likely to appeal its price control?

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 the RP6 period which runs from October 2017 to March 2024. Overall the company has been allowed to attract £1.4 billion in revenue during the six and a half year period. That’s about 11% less than the company had been ...

Published on 27/03/2017
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Mild winter helps to lower wholesale energy prices

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. 

Vayu Senior Energy Analyst, Keith Donnelly said: “We are continuing to see wholesale energy prices remain considerably higher than last year as the market recovers from a year of very low prices.” He added: ...

Published on 26/03/2017
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An energy firm to watch

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 grid. The wholesale cost plunged to minus €85 for a MWh which equates to about minus 7 pence a kWh.Most customers won’t see any evidence of a drop in their bills but those businesses who pay the floating pr...

Published on 15/01/2017
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World breakthrough for Ireland's grid operators

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 working on. Already on several occasions in recent months, the network has coped with a sixty per cent contribution.However this is the first time they have overseen not only such a high proportion of power coming from w...

Published on 11/01/2017
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Regulator plays down role of exports in power price surge

 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 had only a marginal impact. Their analysis showed that exports were “responsible for setting prices in less than 1% of the trading periods.”High bidding into the Single Electricity Market (SEM) by AES, the US owners of Ballyl...

Published on 02/11/2016
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Need to redo numbers for N/S Interconnector

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 the news on a regular basis surely cannot have missed the story.There’s something about a stark warning which concentrates the mind. It spells out in terms everyone can understand the price to be paid for yo...

Published on 30/10/2016
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Confused and contradictory energy policy

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 uses coal has been supplying around forty per cent of our needs. That’s a vastly higher proportion than across the water where coal this morning has been responsible for less than ten per cent of GB generation.So why th...

Published on 19/10/2016
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Smart thinking about power

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 in a system being developed by a company across the water. In a world first, Reactive Technologies has been able to send messages through the entire GB electricity network. This breakthrough paves the way for homes and business with...

Published on 12/10/2016
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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. Jean-Noel Thépaut, Head of the Copernicus Climate Change Service, said: “ These record breaking extremes are the result of a cocktail of weather phenomenon and human activity.”It’s worth noting that currently the Stormont Executiv...

Published on 14/08/2016
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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 case for an upgrade by reference to equipment which it says is in poor condition, obsolete or at the end of its life. The last time however that NIE asked for approval for massive asset replacement programme, the proposed spending plan was rejecte...

Published on 07/08/2016
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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 this sector, which has around 50,000 customers, to justify the removal of the price control. The Regulator is now consulting on whether to allow Power NI to set its own charges free from interference just lik...

Published on 05/06/2016
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Want some electricity? The bill is on me.

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.These episodes occur when combined wind, solar and fossil fuel generation exceeds demand. Power stations are then asked to reduce their output but because they can’t always wind down immediately, surplus ele...

Published on 22/05/2016
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Energy market generating new stories

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 planning a much bigger generating station in Belfast. Ciaran and Stephen Devine want to build a 400 MW gas fired plant in the Belfast Harbour Estate. It’s very early days but if the power station does get constructed, it will help deal with t...

Published on 15/05/2016
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Renewables expansion fails to stop greenhouse gas growth in Ireland

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. Across the EU as a whole the EU statistics agency Eurostat estimates that

carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion increased by 0.7% compared with the previous year. The agency points out tha...

Last updated on 11/05/2016
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Energy installer creates over 30 jobs

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 winning £14m in new contracts with four housing associations and launching a strategic diversification into private sector boiler servicing. “Thanks to substantial new contracts with four housing associations, Alpha Housing, Fold Hous...

Last updated on 11/05/2016
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Wholesale gas prices to fall even further says Vayu

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 and suppressed demand. The average day-ahead price for gas so far this April was just over 28p pence per therm. This compared with an average price of 47 pence  in April 2015. The fall in prices has signi...

Last updated on 11/05/2016
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Power to the people

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 project that should see their electricity bills slashed in half. Northern Ireland Community Energy (NICE) aims to raise £130,000 through a share offer to fund the installation of panels for up to ten charitable and community organisa...

Last updated on 11/05/2016
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Green energy accolade for Housing Executive manager

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 guests at the Action Renewables Awards ceremony in Titanic Belfast. "Noel has been employed as the energy conservation manager at the Housing Executive for 16 years ensuring policies are in place to improve the therma...

Last updated on 11/05/2016
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Record renewable power production

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% - was generated by wind turbines.December past produced not just the highest monthly percentage of renewable electricity in 2015 but, at almost 40% of consumption, the highest on record. The figures may some...

Last updated on 11/05/2016
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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 wind turbines. Except of course the building and running of these underwater generators is bound to be much more expensive than installing and operating onshore wind turbines.The advantage of Fair Head machines is that they can be guaran...

Last updated on 11/05/2016
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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.   Currently the scheme provides money for both the domestic and non-domestic sector. The money helps subsidise heat generation produced from sustainable forms of energy such as biomass.   Across the water concern mounted over the GB s...

Last updated on 11/05/2016
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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 effect at the beginning of April.Last year the company cut its rates by just over 9 per cent. Changes in wholesale and other costs, an industry source suggested, would probably justify a similar level of cut th...

Last updated on 11/05/2016
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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 of the league table. But the right answer according to a report in the Economist two years ago is wood.From blocks to pellets to sawdust, wood makes up half of the renewable energy consumed in the European Union.Tha...

Last updated on 11/05/2016
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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 wind farm. That’s 13.8 megawatts. In theory if the wind blew all the time you could expect to get 13.8 megawatt hours of electricity every hour. But of course even in Ireland the wind drops occasionally. They assume they’ll get way less th...

Last updated on 11/05/2016
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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 run on here for a year longer than in Great Britain wouldn’t have imposed a huge burden. The closure date of 2017 would, after all, only have been what was originally planned. But the request proved too muc...

Last updated on 11/05/2016
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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 scenario where the local industry could be left at a severe disadvantage.Mr Murphy was referring to the plan by the Westminster Government to replace the current Renewables Obligation Scheme with a Contracts for Differen...

Last updated on 11/05/2016
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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. Brent crude ended July at just over 52 dollars a barrel following a 17 per cent price drop bringing the cost of oil back to where it was in January. Paul Stanfield of firmus energy, said: “The main reasons why the recen...

Last updated on 11/05/2016
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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 our own resources.  Below are my calculations for the assessment that it could cost Stormont at least £8m a year to retain the RO support programme for wind turbines a year longer than in Great Britain.I’ve ...

Last updated on 11/05/2016
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Wholesale energy prices near six year low

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 recently amid good news about the US economy but the economic crisis in Greece helped reverse the trend. The context for these subdued prices is of course the world glut of oil with supply exceeding demand by three million barrels a day. P...

Last updated on 11/05/2016
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New energy suppliers to break the mould?

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 consumersManaging Director Marc Norris said: “ We want our customers to share in our success and we promise to reward them for their loyalty with a credit payback scheme.  “We also promise to financially support charity and community initiatives for the benefit of all and we i...

Last updated on 11/05/2016
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Air power for east Antrim

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 the £300m development near Larne. It aims to compress air inside caverns located deep within the salt layers running under East Antrim. According to Gaelectric the process has already been applied successfully ...

Last updated on 11/05/2016
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Fifth of power needs from renewables

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. This represents an increase of 0.5 percentage points on the previous 12 month period In terms of the volume of electricity consumption between April 2014 and March 2015, approximately 7,928 Gigawatt h...

Last updated on 11/05/2016
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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 for onshore wind farms and they seem determined to make good that promise or threat depending on how you see it. This drive to limit the spread of wind farms appears to be overtaking general reform of subsidies for re...

Last updated on 11/05/2016
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Solar Farm Unveiled

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 panels was designed and installed by SALIIS Renewables which will continue to maintain the facility.The initiative was made possible by funding from investment manager Oxford Capital. Bombardier says the deal will e...

Last updated on 11/05/2016
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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 Renewables, issued the warning following the revelation by DETI that there is no guarantee that solar panels or small wind turbines will receive support under the GB Feed in Tariff system which has been set...

Last updated on 11/05/2016
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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 that should concern and even alarm wind farm developers and solar panel installers. It will also greatly disturb those who want Northern Ireland to be at the forefront of combating climate change.

The changes i...

Last updated on 11/05/2016
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Industry Minister softens blow for PV industry

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 April this year. A ROC is worth about 4p for each kWh generated. So at 4 ROCs, for every unit of power created, a household has been getting around 16p in subsidy plus of course a saving, coincidentally als...

Last updated on 11/05/2016
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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 locate turbines, capable of generating between 300 and 400 megawatts of power, in the sea near Annalong in Co Down. The output would have been enough to satisfy just over 13% of Northern Ireland’s electricity needs. The st...

Last updated on 11/05/2016
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Key Information

Renewables

Electric cars, solar panels, ground source heat pumps and wood burning stoves. The ways to cut your contribution to global warming are many and growing. What should you do and how much will it cost you? Click here for advice, tips and debate.

Compare Prices

Our calculator will assist you search for the tariff that suits your needs. Just answer the questions to find out how suppliers are ranked on cost. Then check what bonuses and penalties may apply. But before switching, you should read our terms and condit

Home heating costs compared

Switching from one form of central heating to another is a challenging decision. Should you stay or should you go. It’s worthwhile checking how different fuels compare in price though past results are no guarantee of future performance.



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