31/10/2008

Kelly Addresses NI Renewables Conference

Stormont Junior Minister Gerry Kelly has welcomed an international conference focussed on the development of renewable energy technology, the first of its kind in Northern Ireland.

The two-day International Renewable Energy Conference and Exhibition is being held in the Slieve Donard Hotel, Newcastle and is hosted by the Agri Food Biosciences Institute (AFBI).

The theme of the conference is Global Challenges Community Solutions and over the two days will be addressed by leading experts in the field from across Europe and the USA.

Minister Kelly said that he hoped that the conference would "reach out to the people living and working in our rural communities, providing them with an alternative economic direction as businessmen, and a cleaner, greener environment for all of us".

He added: "The conference provides a wonderful opportunity for everyone involved to become better informed about renewable technologies as well as policies that govern the way in which we can, both now and in the future, deal with the key issues facing us."

The Minister also highlighted the important role that the agri-food sector plays in the development of renewable energy systems.

He said: "We as an Executive have identified a target of improving the competitiveness of the agricultural sector and supporting the modernisation of farm businesses.

"Our commitment to this is shown by our intention to invest £45 million in this area by 2013."

The conference was officially opened earlier this week by Farming Minister Michelle Gildernew.

(PR/JM)

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