Northern Ireland Water begins major solar energy scheme

NI Water launches major solar energy scheme
Sara Venning Chief Executive of NI Water with Leo Martin, Managing Director of Civils GRAHAM Construction at the launch of NI Water’s new £7 million solar farm at Dunore WTW in South Antrim

Northern Ireland (NI) Water has commenced work on a solar farm to supply electricity to its 33-acre Dunore water treatment works on the shore of Lough Neagh in south Antrim.

When completed, the £7 million renewable energy project will produce a peak output of 4.99 megawatts and is expected to save more than half a million pounds a year in energy costs to the company. As well as meeting the energy needs of the Dunore WTW, the project will also enable the company to contribute spare capacity to the grid.

Dunore is the company’s third largest site in terms of energy consumption, accounting for seven per cent of its annual usage, and this project is expected to make a significant contribution towards its ability to achieve its carbon reduction goals.

Launching the project, NI Water’s chief executive, Sara Venning, said: “As the largest user of electricity in N. Ireland, we are committed to limiting our impact on the environment. NI Water expects to increase our electricity consumption from renewable sources from currently around 13 per cent to 40 per cent in 2020/21. The Dunore Solar Farm is an important element in our strategy to deliver benefit for our customers and environment.”

NI Water has reduced its annual expenditure on electricity by £5 million over the last three years and expects the renewable energy at Dunore to contribute to its efforts to minimise expenditure on energy, reduce greenhouse gas and improve energy efficiency in line with its PC15 business plan.

Local firm GRAHAM Construction expect to complete work for the contract by March 2018.