Energy Strategy for Northern Ireland Consultation on Policy Options

Help shape Northern Ireland’s energy future

The Department for Economy wants to develop an energy future for Northern Ireland that puts you at the very heart of their plans. They are currently consulting on policy options to achieve a decarbonised energy future for Northern Ireland. This is your opportunity to have your say on our energy future.

Addressing climate change is one of the greatest challenges and opportunities facing our society and Northern Ireland will make its fair contribution to the Paris Agreement by setting a net zero carbon energy goal by 2050.  The new energy strategy will tackle fuel poverty and  ensure affordable energy for everyone.  Securing a net zero carbon energy future will  improve our environment, deliver better health outcomes, and provide the opportunity to build a green, modern economy which requires new skills and jobs.

The consultation is open until 23.59pm on 30 June 2021. Energy is a complex area so you only need to respond to the questions that affect you. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to have your say on how we shape Northern Ireland’s energy future for generations to come.

Why should you share your views?

The simple answer is that this is going to affect you. We all use and rely on energy every day. How we generate energy and consume it is going to change. It could be the choice of car you drive, the type of system that heats your home, how you make your home more energy efficient or where your electricity comes from.

The Department for Economy is currently considering a range of policy options to achieve a decarbonised energy future for Northern Ireland and how you, the energy consumer, can be supported through this transition. These policy options will have an impact on your life. This consultation is your opportunity to give them your view. 

The Paris Agreement

The UK government has signed up to the Paris Agreement. This means Northern Ireland has also made a commitment to tackle climate change. We must significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions as quickly as possible and work to achieve a ‘climate neutral’ world by the middle of this century. This means achieving an ongoing balance between the greenhouse gases released into our atmosphere with those that are taken back out.

Independent expert advice received from the UK Committee on Climate Change said Northern Ireland could achieve ‘net zero carbon emissions’ by 2050. The most dominant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is carbon dioxide. 96% of energy related emissions in Northern Ireland are carbon. We have a real opportunity to impact climate change at a local level by ‘decarbonising’ all the energy we use.

The Economic Opportunity

Some of the anticipated opportunities include:

  • Low carbon jobs that can directly play a part in tackling climate change;
  • New education and training routes to develop skills for our low carbon workforce;
  • Significant additional local investment and access to global export markets;
  • Support and advice for homeowners and businesses to help them adopt low carbon technologies;
  • Investment to help increase the warmth and comfort of buildings;
  • Eradication of fuel poverty; and
  • Resilient and efficient energy systems that minimise costs and meet our energy needs,
  • whilst providing opportunities to participate in energy markets.

It’s important to note that a ‘greener’ economy will also improve our quality of life and the environment around us. But we can’t take anything for granted. That’s why it’s vital that you participate in this consultation. 

The five key principles that could shape our energy future

The Department for Economy has proposed five key principles that will set the direction for the Energy Strategy and all resulting energy policies going forward. The five key principles are:

Placing you at the heart of our energy future

We will make energy simple for people and develop policies that enable and protect consumers through the energy transition. Affordability and fairness for all be key considerations in all our policy decisions.

Grow a green economy

We will provide economic opportunities, create new jobs and grow a low carbon skills base through innovation and by focusing on our competitive strengths.

Do more with less

We will set clear targets, standards and regulations that drive improvements in energy efficiency. Consumers will be supported to invest in buildings and make other changes that can reduce their energy use.

Replace fossil fuels with indigenous renewables

We will phase out fossil fuels by growing our indigenous renewable base and using this to decarbonise the power, heat and transport that we use at home and at work.

Create a flexible and integrated energy system

We will create a flexible, smart and digitised energy system that integrates heat, power and transport, creates value for consumers and enhances energy security.

This consultation gives you the opportunity to have your say on these key principles.

What to expect from the consultation

This is a consultation on policy options for the Energy Strategy for Northern Ireland. It’s an important consultation and at 79 questions is very comprehensive. However, you only need to answer the questions that are most relevant and important to you.

Here are a selection of questions taken from the consultation:

Do you agree with the overall goal of achieving net zero carbon energy no later than 2050?

Do you agree with the proposed vision of “net zero carbon and affordable energy” for the Energy Strategy?

Do the five principles identified provide clear direction around the approach that we want to take with the Energy Strategy?

Do you agree with the four identified priority clean energy sectors

Do you agree with the economic growth opportunities identified within energy efficiency?

Do you agree with the economic growth opportunities identified within renewable energy?

Do you agree with underpinning principles identified within the circular economy?

Do you agree that an energy savings target should be set for Northern Ireland?

This is your chance to have your say

For Northern Ireland to achieve Net Zero carbon and have affordable energy by 2050, we all have to play our part. This will mean changes to the way we live, work and travel. This is a unique opportunity for the public to contribute to our transition to net zero carbon energy.

Your feedback is really important in helping shape a fair, affordable and healthy energy future for all who live and work in Northern Ireland, both now and in the future. The consultation closes at 23:59pm 30 June 2021.

Have your say on a new Energy Strategy for Northern Ireland.

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