Derry and Strabane is by some distance the green energy capital of the North providing a whopping 31 per cent of total renewable electricity generation, according to a report produced by the Department for the Economy.
‘Energy in Northern Ireland 2018’, which was published by DfE during the summer, has estimated that 97 renewable energy sites in the Derry City & Strabane District Council area were generating 714,676 megawatt hours of power at the end of 2016.
That amounted to 31 per cent of the 2,324,674 MWhs, in total, that was being generated across the whole of the North.
To put this in context there were only 12 renewable sites generating just 12,872 MWhs in Belfast - or 0.5 per cent of the North’s total renewable energy generation at that time.
Furthermore, the report indicates that when the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council’s 111 sites, and Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s 94 sites were added to Derry and Strabane’s 97, these three council’s alone made up around three quarters of renewable electricity generation in the region.
The report states: “The [figures show] that around three quarters of renewable electricity capacity (71 per cent) and generation (74 per cent) was accounted for by three of the 11 council areas namely: CCGBC, DC&SDC and F&ODC.
“This is perhaps unsurprising given that the majority of the large onshore wind turbines would be located in these council areas.
“In general, the majority of capacity and generation is located in rural areas with large urban areas like Belfast or Lisburn and Castlereagh accounting for a very small proportion (around 3 per cent combined) of renewable capacity and generation.”
The matter was raised by Sinn Féin councillor, Dan Kelly, as members of DC&SDC’s planning committee last week refused Gaelectric Developments Ltd. permission to add two new turbines to its windfarm at Monnaboy.
Colr. Kelly, referring to the DfE data, said that he had been disappointed it had not garnered greater publicity when it was published during the summer.
“If Derry and Strabane were at the top of any other league table it would have been splashed all over the front pages,” he suggested.
Colr. Kelly said it was clear from the report that the North West was overburdened with renewable energy sites.
“This area is saturated with turbines and other councils haven’t even started,” he said.