3rd September 2020 - Page 23



BALMORAL SHOW
FARMWEEK
MAY 09 2019
23
On course with renewable energy
sources to hit electricity target
W
ITH the Renewable Energy
Sources for Electricity
(RES-E) target set for 2020,
latest figures show that 38
per cent of the total annual
electricity consumption in Northern
Ireland is being generated from local
renewable sources, meaning the region
is on course to achieve the ambitious
40 per cent target set.
NIE Networks, which has played a
critical role in meeting the RES-E target
by providing the connections for the
renewable sources, is also forecasting
an estimated 110,000 electric vehicles
and more than 50,000 heat pumps will
connect to the distribution network
here by 2030.
Launching the company’s presence
at this year’s Balmoral Show, Paul
Stapleton, Managing Director for NIE
Networks, noted that the target would
not have been achievable without the
invaluable support of agricultural and
rural based customers.
LAUNCH: NIE Networks Managing
Director Paul Stapleton is pictured
with engineers of the future Charlie
Hume and Eva Hume. The two young
budding engineers joined Paul at the
launch of NIE Networks presence at
Balmoral Show 2019.
“Carbon reduction targets, renewable
energy, electric vehicles and heat
pumps are placing new and increased
demands on our network so at such a
critical time for the energy industry
it is very encouraging that we are on
course to meet the RES-E target.
“Meeting
the
target
wouldn’t
have been possible though without
the partnership of our customers,
particularly those in the agricultural
industry. Our statistics indicate that
our rural based customers here are
generating the equivalent of a large
power station worth of renewable
energy which is a remarkable
contribution.”
Climate change legislation has
created significant growth in low
carbon technologies and in turn
major change is required in how the
electricity industry manages and
operates the network.
Currently operating as a Distribution
Network Operator NIE Networks is
responsible for the distribution of
electricity from the transmission
grid to homes, businesses and farms.
However, the network, which was
designed to facilitate the flow of
electrical energy towards the customer,
is now experiencing significant energy
flows in the opposite direction.
Consequently the company is set
to evolve into a Distribution System
Operator facilitating a low carbon
future for Northern Ireland and placing
downward pressure on electricity bills.
Paul Stapleton continued: “We still
have work to do and our Innovation
Strategy is about meeting the lowcarbon future challenge head on by
seeking to provide faster, cheaper and
smarter connection solutions.
“We want to hear from our
stakeholders and customers on exactly
how our future model and operating
structures will evolve and so we
are seeking their views through our
current consultation which remains
open until 20th May.
“Critically these changes will
incentivise customers to manage their
demand and bring new opportunities
by facilitating those who want to be
prosumers – customers who wish to
consume, produce and be flexible with
their energy.”
NIE Networks will be at Balmoral
Show from May 15-18. Further
information about the ‘Greater
Access to the Distribution
Network’ Consultation can be
found at www.nienetworks.co.uk/
future-networks

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