A number of RSUA members met with Joe Reynolds (Director of Energy Strategy) & Leo Kilkenny from Department for the Economy (DfE) to discuss the New Energy Strategy for Northern Ireland and the wider governmental approach to climate change and sustainability.
Attendees were informed that the Northern Ireland Executive is committed to tackling climate change head on with a strategy to address the immediate and longer-term impacts, and that legislation and targets will be introduced to reduce carbon emissions in line with commitments given in Paris accord.
The Department aims to deliver a fair and just transition to a nearly zero carbon society and recognises the importance of decarbonising energy in a manner which is not only reliable and cost effective, but also meets the needs of our people and the wider economy. In order to achieve this the Department requires an understanding of existing energy use as well as the impacts that future changes will have on society.
The meeting also learned of DfE’s intention to take a joined up approach – integrating the system from sources of energy to the consumer, breaking down silos between different energy sectors, joining up the physical requirements of the energy system with policy, market and digital enhancements. A call for evidence is currently open until 20 March 2020 after which policy options will be released summer/autumn of this year with a draft strategy for ministerial consideration in winter 2020.