11/02/2013

NI Energy Bill Approved

The Executive has approved the new Northern Ireland Energy Bill.

The Bill will help the Executive with its aim to create a sustainable energy system which relies on more renewable energy sources.

The Strategic Energy Framework (SEF) lays out the energy framework in the years until 2020 to build competitive markets, ensure security of supply, enhance sustainability and develop energy infrastructure.

Policy proposals include:

- an energy efficiency obligation;

- the duties and obligations of the Department and the Utility Regulator in respect of sustainability;

- small-scale feed-in tariff powers;

- the transfer/assignment of energy licences;

- enforcement provisions; and

- gas storage provisions.

The next steps will be for the Bill to be drafted and then presented to the Executive for approval.

Energy Minister Arlene Foster has welcomed the news.

She said: "In particular, I am pleased to see that the framework for a Northern Ireland Energy Efficiency Obligation was supported by consultees and Ministers. This will enable the setting up of a new mechanism that will help bring the benefits of energy efficiency to everyone in Northern Ireland.

"Energy savings have never been more important as we face so many energy challenges, particularly rising fuel costs. The new Energy Efficiency Obligation, if approved by the Assembly, could create an ongoing programme of energy savings delivered on the ground in Northern Ireland."

The Minister continued: "Consultees have confirmed their support for a small-scale feed-in tariff for renewable electricity generation and I welcome the Executive’s agreement that the new Energy Bill will include provisions to allow for this. I am also making a number of changes to the Department’s and the Regulator’s statutory duties to ensure they remain appropriate for the sustainable future of energy."

(IT)

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