Downpatrick Councillor Cadogan EnrightEvery farm and house in Northern Ireland can become a mini power plant says Green Party

Cadogan Enright has said that homeowners and farmers in Northern Ireland are missing out on a deal that allows people in the Republic of Ireland who produce their own electricity to sign up to a new scheme that will pay them for any spare energy they generate.

Under a programme announced today by the Energy Minister Eamon Ryan, there will be incentives for small-scale generation of electricity for domestic users with wind and water turbines, solar panels and combined heat and power units.

Cllr Cadogan Enright believes that people in NI are at a disadvantage when compared to the Republic, despite the existence of a Single Electricity Market on the island.

He said, “The new scheme in the Republic shows forward thinking by the Minister, encouraging members of the public to use renewable energy sources for their homes and benefit from it financially. Once again, NI is falling behind as we do not have the same level of assistance to stimulate a drive towards renewables.”

The first 4,000 people to sign up to the scheme with the ESB will get a guaranteed price of 19 cents per kWh.

Cllr Enright explained that the current total payment available in NI for generating electricity and feeding back to the grid is approximately 10 pence, which is much less than the 19 cents offered in the new scheme.

He said: “Every farm and house in should and can now become a mini power plant. This long-demanded Green policy will help people to lower their energy costs and to fight climate change. I would call on the energy regulator and NIE to introduce rates similar to the rest of the Single Market so all the people of Ireland will be encouraged to adopt renewable energy.”

“The rules have changed in the Republic and should change here too. Before, you received your power from a central source and paid for it. Now you can generate for yourself and be paid for the excess you don’t use. We can use our abundant natural resources to bolster the economy, create skilled, lasting, green-collar jobs and reduce carbon emissions at the same time.

“This type of long-term investment with a guaranteed return, represents the best value for spending and lending.

“By generating power at home from clean, renewable sources, we will improve our energy independence and keep more money in Northern Ireland. We do not want to be dependent on Russia, Saudi Arabia or even England for our energy needs; we can supply our own.”

By Cadogan