Council plays its role in powering NI’s Energy Strategy

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is ensuring its residents and business owners play a key role in shaping Northern Ireland’s energy strategy.

Workshops have been scheduled to compile a draft response to the Department for the Economy’s DfE Energy Strategy Call for Evidence, which has now been approved by elected members.

The response covers areas on a number of energy matters, including homes not having access to gas heating, options to decarbonise the rural community and importance of the role of renewables and the need to incentivise uptake.

In June 2019, the UK became the first major economy to commit to a 100% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

This ‘net zero’ target represents a significant step change in the commitment to addressing the climate crisis.

The challenge is to reach a net zero 2050 target for the energy sector while meeting the energy needs of the population sustainably and cost-effectively.

The Department for the Economy’s (DfE) Strategic Energy Framework 2010 set a ten-year vision for Northern Ireland’s energy needs.

DfE has been considering how to advance proposals for a new Energy Strategy that will enable the new and challenging decarbonisation targets.

A Call for Evidence was launched on a new Energy Strategy in December 2019 with a deadline for responses of 20th March 2020.

The Department intends to present a draft strategy to the Minister for the Economy by the end of 2020.

Councillor Billy Ashe MBE proposed the recommendation to approve Council’s draft response at the recent monthly meeting.

“This draft response highlights the importance of energy to Mid and East Antrim,” he said.

“In our borough we have Kilroot and Ballylumford which are two of the best power generation sites in Northern Ireland.

“Any future energy transition should reflect the strategic significance of both sites.

“The recent partnership between Wrightbus and Translink to pioneer hydrogen-fuelled buses is also a very positive example and should be further encouraged.”

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