Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster has reinforced the message that Northern Ireland has much to gain from a robust and cost effective renewable energy sector.
Speaking at the Northern Ireland Renewables Industry Group (NIRIG) annual conference in Belfast today, the Minister said: “Renewables are key to a low carbon future and we are committed to delivering the right framework to attract and secure private sector investment to deliver our shared goals.
“The successful development of our renewables sector over the last few years has shown what is possible and we need to ensure further long term growth.
“We have so much to gain from a strong, robust and cost effective renewable energy sector. Renewable energy contributes to greater energy diversity, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and protects against fossil fuel price volatility. It also supports business growth and employment.”
In Northern Ireland there are around 230 companies working across the broad spectrum of renewable opportunities generating some £620 million and further growth is expected. In the 12 month period to the end of December 2013, renewables accounted for some 17% of all electricity consumed.
“The theme of today’s conference, ‘Partnership for Progress’, is appropriate as energy matters impact on so many aspects of society. Partnership is vital if we are to tackle some of the challenging issues that face us and secure progress in this very important sector.”
During the conference renewable energy issues such as markets, grid and community issues were on the agenda.