28/03/2002

'Green' electricity provider welcomed by NIE

Up to 50 jobs may be created in Northern Ireland by Dublin based Airtricity, who plan to build environmentally friendly electricity windfarms in Counties Fermanagh and Tyrone.

The jobs should come over a three-year expansion period.

Airtricity aim to provide cheap and clean electricity to small businesses across Northern Ireland and will compete directly with Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE).

In January 2002, Airtricity signed a €100 million deal to import renewable power from Scotland through NIE’s Moyle Interconnector.

NIE have welcomed Airtricty’s official launch into the Northern Ireland market.

Robin Greer, NIE’s Communications Manager, said: “We particularly welcome a new player in the renewable energy market and hope that an enlarged market and greater supply will help drive prices down in this sector.

“Our objective is to force the price of ‘green energy’ down and this can only be achieved through the introduction of new lower-cost renewable sources available to suppliers. NIE are confident that recent renewable energy purchases will lead to a reduction in the current level of green energy premiums.”

NIE launched Eco Energy scheme in 1998 and since then it has grown to become one of the most successful “green tariffs” in the United Kingdom with almost 4000 customers.

However, NIE said they were disappointed that Airtricity chose to include some unconstructive and negative statements in their launch public relations materials. Robin Greer added: “It is a pity that such a positive development has been spoiled by unnecessarily negative PR. This does not help customers or the cause of competition in the electricity industry”.

(GB)

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