Up to 10,000 jobs could go in Northern Ireland as a result of the decision to end subsidies for renewable energy, an energy advisory organisation has said.
Government-backed incentives for wind power and other energy sources are due to end within 18 months.
Michael Doran of Action Renewables told the BBC’s Inside Business programme that some people who had invested in wind turbines faced massive losses. He said jobs would be lost unless a replacement incentive was introduced. He is a director of the organisation which advises provide expert advice on renewable energy to both the government and commercial investors.
“I’m aware of 15 individual farmers who’ve already bought wind turbines which they now will not be able to put in because they don’t have the grid connection from NIE [Northern Ireland Electricity],” Mr Doran told the programme.
“Those have cost them between £100,000 and £200,000 each already – so already I’m aware of individuals who have lost over £1m.
“My guess is, if there is nothing to replace the renewables obligation whatsoever, it would lead to between 5,000 and 10,000 job losses within Northern Ireland – it’s significant.”
It was announced that the current subsidy system for on-shore wind energy in Northern Ireland is set to end next April, a year earlier than planned.
Stormont’s Enterprise Minister Jonathan Bell started a two-week consultation on the proposal.