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20/05/2004

Cross-border energy market discussed by ministers

NIO Enterprise Minister Barry Gardiner and Ireland's Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources Dermot Ahern have met to discuss the all-island energy market.

Following the successful all-island Energy Forum in March this year, a strategic framework is being prepared to identify further action by the two Governments, regulatory authorities and industry, in working towards the goal of an all-island energy market.

Mr Gardiner said: “We must develop a single energy market with the clear objective to achieve real benefits for consumers, North and South. Enhanced cooperation, joint planning and integrated energy systems, are key to this.

"This involves securing the engagement and commitment of all the key stakeholders in the energy arena. We must also focus on those priorities which will create an attractive environment for investment, competition and innovation.”

Mr Ahern added: “It is now time to bring together and prioritise the measures needed to create a single energy market on this island. The two Energy Regulators and Transmission System Operators are essential to this process in which all key parties must be involved fully so that the objective of an all-island energy market can be achieved.”

Both Ministers agreed that there is scope for further co-operation in exploiting renewable energy and that work to determine a possible all-island biomass strategy by the autumn would be pursued.

Significant long-term benefits are also expected from energy efficiency and combined heat and power generation for business and domestic customers.

(MB)

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