Minister on the Move at SSE Airtricity's Slieve Kirk Wind Park

Over 70 local businesses gathered at SSE's Slieve Kirk Wind Park in Co. Derry~Londonderry today for the second Minister on the Move event in the 2016 series. The event coincided with Global Wind Day, the worldwide event held annually on the 15 June to celebrate wind energy.

Guests had the opportunity to speak with the new Minister for Infrastructure Chris Hazzard and hear about the benefits of wind power for the local economy, before being brought on a guided tour of Slieve Kirk Wind Park.

Minister on the Move is an initiative by Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) in partnership with SSE Airtricity. The events bring Ministers and industry stakeholders together at the premises of a host business, allowing attendees to learn about the successes and challenges facing a variety of sectors and any local issues of note. The events also provide an open forum for delegates to share their views with Assembly Ministers.

Speaking at the event, Ann McGregor, Chief Executive of NI Chamber, said:

"I would like to congratulate today’s hosts, SSE, on the development of Northern Ireland’s first grouped wind farm. The project brings with it a host of economic benefits, not just by greening our energy supply, but also by contributing almost £750,000 so far to more than 100 local projects through the SSE Airtricity Community Fund, with 55 scholarships for local students progressing to third-level education.”

Mark Ennis, Chairman of SSE Ireland, said the company was delighted to host the event, and especially to welcome Minister for Infrastructure Chris Hazzard to Slieve Kirk Wind Park on Global Wind Day. Speaking at the event, he said:

“Renewable energy depresses the wholesale price of electricity, makes significant contributions to the local economy and supports employment in Northern Ireland. Today’s Minister on the Move event gives us an excellent platform from which to showcase the very real and evident economic contribution that renewable energy has delivered here.

“At Slieve Kirk Wind Park, SSE is operating the largest wind farm in Northern Ireland, generating enough green power for 65,000 homes and saving 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering our atmosphere each year. SSE's total investment at Slieve Kirk is £125 million, £55 million of which is being directly invested into the local economy. That’s making a real difference towards achieving a thriving low carbon economy and sustaining jobs.”