SONI, the System Operator for Northern Ireland, has continued to break records as it revealed today that more electricity was generated by wind in Northern Ireland in February than ever before.
February saw a staggering 359 Gigawatt hours of renewable electricity generated by wind turbines located across Northern Ireland, equivalent to 54% of total electricity consumption in Northern Ireland coming from wind in this month.
This is a 7% increase on the previous record set in January 2020. Analysis also shows that for almost two thirds (64%) of the month, wind energy met more than 50% of the total electricity demand in the region.
While the record-breaking figures can be attributed in part to storms Ciara, Dennis and Jorge, they are also evidence that SONI’s world leading innovation programme to manage more renewable energy on the electricity system is working.
SONI figures also reveal that renewable energy met 41% of the electricity demand in Northern Ireland in the 12-month rolling period to the end of January 2020, ahead of Northern Ireland’s renewable target of 40% renewable energy by the end of 2020.
SONI is now looking to ensure the next decade brings even higher levels of renewable electricity generation from a broader mix of sources. SONI’s new corporate strategy is aimed at ensuring that Northern Ireland’s grid can handle 95% renewable energy at any one time. It can currently handle up to 65% at any given time; a world-leading achievement.
Jo Aston, SONI Managing Director, commented: “The progress that Northern Ireland has made in the past 15 years is truly incredible when you consider that renewable energy accounted for just 3% of demand in 2005. We take our responsibility of managing the NI electricity grid and the single electricity market very seriously. As we look to deliver our new strategy to contribute to reducing the carbon footprint further, we are reassured by and proud of exceeding wind generation records and reaching renewable energy targets. This of course has been made possible by the dedicated staff at SONI.”
Jo Aston continued: “Our ambition is to continue to increase the amount of energy we consume from renewable sources over the next decade by developing the existing infrastructure and operational requirements. Over the next five years, progressing towards a decarbonised economy, while maximising value for consumers, will be at the heart of our work.”