Minister reveals Strategic Energy Framework for NI

Enterprise Minister Barry Gardiner has announced a new Strategic Energy Framework for Northern Ireland.

The framework builds on existing achievements and sets the energy agenda, including key priorities and principles, for developments in the energy sector in the coming years.

The key goals in the Framework are:
  • reducing energy costs
  • building competitive energy markets
  • protecting our future by enhancing renewables and sustainability
  • securing a reliable energy supply
Mr Gardiner said: “Energy consumers expect a reliable, efficient and high quality service, at a reasonable price. At a wider level, energy costs and reliability are central to Northern Ireland’s business and industrial competitiveness. What we need for Northern Ireland is a competitive, sustainable, reliable energy market at the minimum cost necessary in an all-island, UK and European context. In striking a balance between competing objectives, driving down costs must be at the heart of all policy decisions.”

Reflecting the increasing emphasis on protection of the environment the Minister said: “Our policy priorities are tied in with wider UK and European environmental strategies, in particular the reduction of carbon emissions. Promoting greater use of renewable sources of energy and reducing energy usage through improved efficiency will help Northern Ireland meet our environmental obligations and enhance the sustainability of our energy supply.”

The Minister also highlighted the wider all-island, UK and European dimension: “Northern Ireland must grasp the opportunities offered by increasing integration on energy issues at European level. The European energy agenda is developing rapidly. We must be ready to meet our obligations in a way that best serves the Northern Ireland consumer. Ongoing progress towards developing an all-island energy market should deliver long-term economic and social benefits that are mutually advantageous to consumers in Northern Ireland and the Republic."

Mr Gardiner said that to successfully address the challenges, all stakeholders, including government, industry, the regulatory authority and consumers would need to work together (SP)

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