Press Release

Department Plan Lacks Clear Targets Says Assembly Committee

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Thursday, 20 October 2011

Reference: ETI 03/11/12

At its meeting today the Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Enterprise, Trade & Investment criticised the Department for Enterprise Trade & Investment for developing an action plan that could achieve very little. The plan, created to implement the Strategic Energy Framework, was criticised for “lacking in focus”.

Speaking after the meeting, Committee Chair, Alban Maginness MLA said: “The Strategic Energy Framework [1] is the Government’s main policy driver for energy up to 2020. It sets out the broad strategic direction for energy policy up to 2020. The plan presented to us today is supposed to help achieve this.

“However, what we saw today was a plan lacking in focus, lacking in targets and lacking in clear outcomes. Considering the Committee criticised the Department for the same thing in January following the inquiry into barriers to developing renewable energy, this is particularly disappointing.

“As the plan currently stands it could be described as being descriptive of aims rather than a prescriptive plan with clear outcomes. If allowed to remain like this the Department could potentially meet all of the objectives of the Strategic Energy Framework whilst achieving very little in the process.

“Specific targets are needed for energy pricing, security of supply, uptake of renewable energy, economic opportunities from renewable energy and for energy efficiency. These are the outcomes the plan needs to deliver. There is no point in the Department stating, for example, that ‘energy efficiency must be maximised’ without a clear indication of what exactly it means by this and how it will be achieved.”

Deputy Chair of the Committee, Daithí McKay added: “It is the role of Department to produce a clear, dynamic, long-term plan for what it believes can be achieved. It is our role as a Committee to challenge the Department if we do not believe this is what it has done. The Department needs to put such a plan in place for the Strategic Energy Framework if it is to be implemented properly.”  

Notes to Editors:
  1. The Strategic Energy Framework sets the direction for Northern Ireland’s energy policy up until 2020. The Minister states, in her foreword to the SEF that she sees the SEF as laying firm foundations for the tremendous challenge that is ahead to 2050 and beyond. The Department’s strategic aim, as stated in the SEF, is for a more secure and sustainable energy system where:
    • Energy is as competitively priced as possible alongside robust security of supply;
    • Much more of our energy is from renewable sources and the resulting economic opportunities are fully exploited; and
    • Energy efficiency is maximised.

Committee Membership:

Mr. Alban Maginness (Chairperson)
Mr. Daithi McKay (Deputy Chairperson)
Mr. Stephen Agnew
Mr. Gordon Dunne
Mr. Phil Flanagan
Mr. David McIlveen
Dr. Alasdair McDonnell
Mr. Stephen Moutray
Mr. Mike Nesbitt
Mr. Robin Newton
Ms. Sue Ramsey

The Clerk to the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment is:

Jim McManus
Northern Ireland Assembly
Room 375, Parliament Buildings
Ballymiscaw, Stormont
Belfast BT4 3XX
Phone: 028 9052 1230

Find Your MLA

Locate your local MLA

Find MLA

News and Media Centre

Read press releases, watch live and archived video.

Find out more

Follow the Assembly

Keep up to date with what's happening at the Assembly.

Find out more


Enter your email address to keep up to date

Sign up