RenewableNI, the voice of Northern Ireland’s electricity industry, brought together industry experts and MLAs to discuss the future of Northern Ireland’s renewable electricity at their Smart Energy Conference on Thursday 6 October.

A key event for Northern Ireland’s renewable electricity industry, Smart Energy addressed the risks to the 80 per cent renewable electricity target by 2030, including an inefficient, ineffective planning system.

Audience heard from key speakers including BBC’s Business and Economy Editor John Campbell, Sinn Féin Economy spokesperson Dr Caoimhe Archibald MLA and Director of NIE Networks, Derek Hynes.

Audience members were able to participate in Markets and Planning panel discussions, that included input from NI’s senior planning official.

RenewableNI Chair: “We need change to achieve 80% by 30”

Speaking at his first in-person role being elected Chair of RenewableNI, Garth McGimpsey said: “Business as usual will result in failure” before setting out the timelines for renewable electricity projects in Northern Ireland.  Addressing the MLAs from the major parties, he called for urgent change to enable the industry to achieve the required targets.

During the Planning panel speakers set out the issues of under resourcing and longer timeframes than the rest of UK and ROI.

The potential for offshore wind to generate £2.4bn to the local economy was set out by Niamh Kenny, North Channel Wind, speaking on the latest report from RenewableNI The Clean Revolution.

RenewableNI Director, Steven Agnew said:

“The direction of travel on climate and energy policy is the correct one, but the problem is pace.  55,000 people dies across Europe during the heatwave – the planet is already becoming uninhabitable for some.  The government needs to start reporting on climate deaths and then maybe we’ll see the required urgency.  We need a Covid type response to climate.

“At RenewableNI we will continue to work with our members to ensure we achieve the vital changes for the environment and economy”

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