Business has welcomed the DfE developing a new NI Energy Strategy to succeed the Strategic Energy Framework 2010-2020. This creates a timely opportunity to best position NI’s green recovery and transition to a net-zero economy. However, the absence of an Executive from 2017-2020 means that NI should expedite its legislative and policy reforms without delay if it is to catch up with other devolved administrations and central government in achieving the statutory target of net-zero by 2050.
As such, the CBI’s response argues that the development of a Northern Ireland Energy Strategy should:
- Be implemented with urgency to meet upcoming 2030 targets whilst also aligning with a Northern Ireland climate bill and wider UK ambitions to reach net-zero by 2050
- Deliver a net-zero energy system but a Just Transition for the whole of Northern Ireland
- Continue to deploy large-scale renewable energy through investments in the life extension and repowering of existing onshore capacity, establishing an offshore wind markets and the development of a Contract for Difference mechanism
- Include clear incentives and policy frameworks for investing in energy efficiency solutions for both homes and business
- Consider both on/off-gas grid heat solutions and policies to encourage ambitious innovation and cost-reduction over the next decade
- Prioritise the publication of a Transport Decarbonisation Plan. This should establish a phase out date for petrol and diesel cars and vans, outline details of an electric vehicle delivery plan and a framework for the deployment of alternatively fuelled vehicles
- Deliver a smart, flexible energy system by supporting both supply-side and demand-side measures and ensure delivery is at the lowest cost to consumers
- Develop policy frameworks and pathways for key cross-sector enabling technologies, including biomethane and hydrogen
- Be underpinned by regulatory and planning reform to bring Northern Ireland in line with Great Britain and Republic of Ireland counterparts to attract investment.
We look forward the Department’s response to this consultation, and eagerly await the publication of a Northern Ireland Energy Strategy.