Construction starts on NI's largest renewable energy project
Work has started today on Northern Ireland's largest renewable energy project, an £81m biomass renewable power plant in Derry/Londonderry.
The biomass renewable power plant is the first investment in Northern Ireland funded by the UK Green Investment Bank (UK GIB) via its Foresight managed fund.
Over the plants forecasted operational life of 20 years, it will save around 3.7 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent, and produce enough electricity to supply more than 25,000 homes in Northern Ireland.
The plant will be the largest renewable energy project in Northern Ireland and represents a significant strategic investment in the North West.
UK GIB managing director of waste and bioenergy Chris Holmes said: "Our first investment in Northern Ireland will save over two million tonnes of wood from landfill, and save the same amount of carbon as taking 77,000 cars off the road."
Construction work on the plant will create 200 jobs and it is expected to become fully operational by summer 2015.
Minister for the Environment Mark H Durkan said: "As well as the obvious environmental benefits coming from the reduction of carbon emissions, I recognise and welcome the important contribution that this renewable energy project will make to both the local and Northern Ireland economies, creating over 200 jobs in the short term.
"This plant will generate 15 megawatts of clean, green energy, which will make an important contribution to the achievement of Northern Ireland's renewable energy targets and adds a new dimension to our renewable energy mix, helping create a better environment, a stronger economy," added Durkan.
Last week, the UK GIB announced that it is funding a retrofit project of NCP car parks across the UK, fitting up to 149 locations with new energy efficient lighting systems over the coming year.
Speaking on the announcement, UK GIB chief executive, Shaun Kingsbury, said: "This project is important because it offers a demonstration, to all businesses, that energy efficiency is, first and foremost, good business sense. NCP will see the cost of the entire retrofit project more than covered by the savings and it will help them manage risk and improve the experience of their customers".
Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander added: "The project shows that being energy efficient is common sense, saving money and reducing emissions at the same time."