Assembly Committee Urges Government to Support Businesses to Develop Renewable Energies

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 17 February 2011

Reference: ETI 03/10/11

The Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment presented its report into barriers to the development of renewable energy to the energy and business sectors today. The Committee organised the event to give those with an interest in renewable energies the opportunity to comment on the Committee’s report, and its view that energy policy should be driven by one Government Department.

Committee Chairman, Alban Maginness, MLA said: “The Committee undertook this inquiry after local businesses said they were coming up against barriers to developing renewable energy products here. The Committee felt it was important to look into the issues and highlight these to Government for immediate action.

“There is so much potential on this island to harvest energy through many different methods – wind, heat, crops. With these resources we could become a leading provider and exporter of renewable energy in the future. However, with the current lack of information, poor support, inadequate infrastructures and no long term vision we stand little chance of being able to achieve this.

“It is this Committee’s view that Government needs to sit up and pay attention to this issue. It needs to bring all responsibility for energy under one Government Department, it needs to develop a vision for our energy future that goes well beyond 2020 and it needs to set clear and measureable targets to help us measure our progress. If Government acts now, we have a chance; if it doesn’t, we will be left far behind and dependent on our European neighbours for the energy we could and should have been able to produce ourselves.”

In addition to hearing from the Committee, attendees also received presentations from Global Wind Alliance/Global Maritime Alliance, the NI Green New Deal Group and Questor Centre, QUB.

Dr Elaine Groom, General Manager of Questor Centre, QUB said: "There are both huge opportunities and huge challenges in developing sustainable sources of energy for Northern Ireland. The choices we make together now can deliver real benefit for the economy and society."