Ecotricity this week celebrated the completion of its first wind park in Northern Ireland, two windmills now generating electricity for Michelin at their tyre factory in Ballymena, Co. Antrim.
The project – which has a capacity of 4.6MW – is Ecotricity’s second wind park for Michelin following the installation of two windmills at the company’s Dundee tyre factory in 2006.
The Ballymena windmills will generate enough clean, green electricity to power the equivalent of about three and a half thousand homes every year.
Dale Vince, Ecotricity founder, said: “Building wind power on-site and supplying it directly to a factory not only cuts carbon emissions, but because you don’t need to transport the electricity via the grid – it cuts energy costs too.
“This is a way to make businesses more competitive and more environmentally sustainable at the same time.”
Onsite Wind Energy – pioneered by Ecotricity and known as ‘Merchant Wind’ – ensures that electricity is channelled direct to the end user, while any excess energy not used on site goes into the local Grid.
Wilton Crawford, Factory Manager at Michelin Ballymena, said: “The wind turbines are a welcome asset for Michelin in Ballymena, and will help alleviate the challenge of increased energy costs, particularly as energy prices in Northern Ireland far surpass those in Europe.”
Ecotricity’s two turbines at Michelin’s Dundee site have already produced well over 43 million units (kWh) of energy since being commissioned in 2006: that’s enough electricity to power over ten and a half thousand average homes, keep an iPad going for over 3 and a half million years, or drive an electric car (Nissan LEAF) around the equator over six thousand times.
The new Ballymena wind park follows hot on the heels of other good news for Ecotricity, who recently secured permission for a 22 turbine site in Heckington Fen in Lincolnshire, England, and announced that they had reached 70,000 green energy customers.
Vital Statics of the Ballymena wind park
Site address: Raceview Road, Ballymena, Co Antrim
Number of turbines: 2
Rotor diameter: 82m
Hub height: 79m
Green electricity per year: 11.17 million units
Homes powered (equiv): 3,385
Tonnes of CO2 saved p.a.: 4,146