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On Wednesday 29 June, 2022, RenewableNI launched our new Programme for Government.

Held in the Stormont Hotel, the breakfast launch was a round table event, jointly hosted with several of our members, with Northern Ireland’s recently elected MLAs invited.

The Programme For Government sets out the action required to reach the target of 80% renewable electricity by 2030.

Judith Rance from RenewableNI spoke to RNI’s Chair, Garth McGimpsey; Head of RenewableNI, Steven Agnew and RNI members Tamasin Fraser from ABO Wind and Aidan Collins from Lightsource bp.

They discuss the importance of renewable electricity and why it is vital we get changes to the planning system in order to achieve 80% renewable electricity by 2030.

Speaking at the launch of the Programme for Government, Head of RenewableNI, Steven Agnew said:

“RenewableNI has set a target for zero carbon power by 2035 and this has now been highlighted as necessary by the Climate Change Committee, in a letter to Minister Edwin Poots MLA.  To achieve it we must double our renewable capacity in half the time it took to get to this point.

“Today we came together and found solutions to deliver new renewable generation at pace.  We have five years to meet the 80% by 2030 renewables target.

“We have the target, but we will need change to achieve it.”

In his opening address at the event, Deputy Chair of RenewableNI Paul Carson from Strategic Power Projects said:

“The return of the Northern Ireland Assembly at the earliest possible juncture must be the first and highest priority going forward. Of course, there is hope that we can progress some actions in the absence of the Assembly, but the challenges of the climate emergency are made even more difficult due to the lack of an Executive and functioning Assembly.”

Speaking about his personal experience, Paul continued:

“I was born, I live, and I’ve based businesses in Northern Ireland, but all the projects I have in the pipeline are in the Irish Republic.  We need change to achieve targets.”

Chair of RenewableNI, Garth McGimpsey, from member organisation RES explained the major delay occurs during the planning stage:

“Delays in the planning system are typically caused by a lack of appropriately skilled staff in the Department of Infrastructure, DEARA and local planning departments.  These delays in terms of consultation time frames effect all renewable energy projects.

“By 2030, 65% of our electricity needs to be generated by onshore wind turbines. We need change to achieve it.”

Programme for Government Outcome

Consensus from the tables on the actions required include:

  • Resource the planning system to reduce timelines;
  • Streamline the process for green infrastructure projects;
  • Clear statutory timeframes that are realistic and industry can have confidence will be achieved.

Photographs from the RenewableNI Programme for Government launch.