‘Excessive’ subsidies paid out in NI energy scheme

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Owners of some renewable technologies are being paid “excessive” subsidies from people’s electricity bills, according to the NI Audit Office.Wind farms, which produce most of NI’s renewable power, get a similar level of support to those in Britain.But owners of standalone turbines and anaerobic digesters, which contribute 17% of it, get much higher payments.The complex pricing structure means NI electricity consumers pay £31 a year towards the cost of renewables. That represents 5% of their annual bills. It is much higher for customers in Britain who also contribute.The Department for the Economy said renewable electricity had been a “major success story” and the issues in the report were with two technologies which accounted for a “small proportion” of generation supported by the scheme.The Audit Office said they accounted for relatively small amounts of power, but attracted a considerable proportion of the total available subsidy.It is the second time so-called green energy has come under the spotlight and follows the crisis caused by the botched Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme.

The Audit Office said subsidies to generators had helped Northern Ireland exceed its targets for renewable electricity, with almost 47% of our power now produced that way.But it …

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