Hydro plants, landfill gas projects, windfarms and waste-to-energy plants are among 261 projects the Government has approved to generate electricity from renewable sources of energy.
The Department of Trade and Industry announced the projects this week under the fifth round of its Non-Fossil Fuel Obligation programme (NFFO), which subsidises qualifying schemes.
The DTI said projects in NFFO-5 would generate nearly 1,200MW, about the same as a large power station. It said the move was the most extensive boost for green energy since the NFFO scheme started in 1990.
But there is no guarantee that all projects will go ahead. Of the 2,094MW of capacity approved under the first four NFFO orders, only 528MW (25%) was operating by June this year. Failure to secure planning consent has been the most common reason for projects failing.
Aubrey Bourne, policy adviser to the Major Energy Users Council, said the NFFO-5 order was ‘a drop in the ocean’ and he did not believe renewable energy ‘will make a significant contribution to electricity generation within any kind of reasonable timescale’.
Bourne also sees a conflict between the Government’s drive for renewables and its need for more energy in a future of extreme weather.