Wind energy generated in Derry could fuel buses and homes in future

Wind energy.
Wind energy.

Department for the Economy energy boss Richard Rodgers has said wind turbines in Derry could be used to power buses and heat homes.

The ‘City Deal’ is a chance to look at such innovative energy solutions, he said.

Electricity from the Sperrins, for example, could be used to split water into oxygen and hydrogen - a process called electrolysis. The hydrogen could then power homes or fuel-cell buses. Translink already have plans for some of those.

“The future is in being able to demonstrate our projects quickly. If we do it in bite-size chunks there’s real opportunity, particularly with the ‘City Deal’.

"Whenever we’ve got wind turbines switched off - that is such a waste. A lot of the time the wind turbine is switched off because there isn’t a demand. The wind turbine should never have to be switched off,” he declared.

Mr. Rodgers said the development of new storage solutions and hydrogen-production were ways forward.

“It could be used through electrolysis to produce hydrogen. That hydrogen could be put into a local heat network.

“You could try some local heat networks off the natural gas grid. Towns and villages that don’t get access.

“Translink have plans to bring on three hydrogen fuel-cell buses. One of the uses in hydrogen would be in transport, electric, ultra-low emission vehicles using hyrodgen fuel-cell and testing it here,” he added.