Northern Ireland publishes Energy Strategy calling for decarbonisation by 2050
The Northern Ireland Renewables Industry Group (NIRIG) published its Energy Strategy on 24 April, highlighting plans to decarbonise the energy industry by 2050.
The strategy also outlines the goal of reaching 70% renewable electricity by 2030, accompanied by commissioning research into how to achieve the target.
With Northern Ireland’s growing onshore wind industry, the reports suggests that with the addition of each new turbine, a £2.7mn (US$3.7mn) investment is made to the local economy.
The report also calls for an impact assessment for what Brexit means to energy policy, as well focusing on building skills and innovation for the future.
“There’s an urgent need to plan for the post-2020 world in which clean energy will be an engine for economic growth,” stated Rachel Anderson, Chair of NIRIG.
“A more diverse, flexible, energy mix will increase energy security, as well as generating cheap power for consumers.”
“This brings enormous economic opportunities to Northern Ireland by attracting regional investment, promoting innovation and developing skills.”
“We now need a fundamental shift in how we generate, manage and consume energy. The transformation of the energy sector is happening today, and our industry is at the forefront of this transformation.”
“The renewables sector wants to contribute, but we can’t do it alone – leadership and collaboration will be crucial for success.”
“That’s why we’ve laid out a series of ambitious and far-reaching measures in this Energy Strategy.”
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.