Launch of action plan to cut energy-related emissions

20/01/2022

The Minister for the Economy has today launched a 22-point Action Plan to reduce energy-related emissions in 2022. It follows the publication last month of the Energy Strategy for Northern Ireland- The Path to Net Zero Energy. This outlined a roadmap to deliver a 56 per cent reduction in energy-related emissions by 2030 and a pathway to deliver the 2050 vision of net zero carbon and affordable energy. RSUA contributed to the consultation on the strategy.

A number of the actions relate to the built environment as follows.

Reducing energy use through changes to the built environment

The Energy Strategy has a stated aim:

  • Deliver energy savings of 25% from buildings and industry by 2030
  • Ensure all new buildings are net zero ready by 2026/27 (earlier if practicable)
  • Reduce the distance people travel in private vehicles

To start to meet these objectives in 2022 the NI Executive has committed to:

  • Launch an area-based domestic energy efficiency pilot scheme to inform the roll-out of a longer-term programme.
  • Deliver £10m of Invest to Save Projects to support the reduction of energy consumption and carbon footprint in central government.
  • Prepare a plan to establish minimum energy efficiency standards in the domestic private rented sector
  • Introduce revised Part F technical guidance to provide an interim uplift in line with Nearly-Zero Energy Buildings
  • Issue a discussion document on the next stage of changes to building regulations with regard to decarbonisation

Low carbon heat

The Energy Strategy has a stated aim to:

  • Replace high carbon heating sources with lower and zero carbon sources in households and businesses

In 2022 the NI Executive has committed to:

  • Review permitted development legislation for low carbon heat installations to ensure it is up to date and fit for purpose. This is primarily to address the permitted development for heat pumps to align with modern standards and requirements. The review will take cognisance of the approach being adopted in other jurisdictions.  The review will also assess any changes required for rolling out other low carbon heat technologies.
  • Deliver up to £5m of support for the decarbonisation of heat in homes, communities, businesses and delivery of low carbon heat networks
  • Undertake feasibility studies to inform future decisions on suitable locations for accessing geothermal heat and to better understand the potential role that geothermal energy can play in Northern Ireland’s energy mix.

Low carbon travel

The Energy Strategy aims to:

  • Support the transition to low and zero carbon fuels for vehicles

In 2022 the NI Executive has committed to:

  • Publish an EV infrastructure action plan. The will impact on future developments.