The drive towards net zero carbon and affordable energy will provide opportunities to create jobs and encourage investment – that was the key message from Department for Economy Minister Diane Dodds as she launched a public consultation on a new Northern Ireland Energy Strategy.
The wide-ranging consultation document outlines the intention to support domestic and business consumers through the energy transition, providing incentives and establishing a ‘one stop shop’ offering impartial support and advice for consumers to make informed and affordable clean energy choices.
The consultation is based on five principles which will shape the energy transition. Energy users are of central importance to the future strategy, and “placing you at the heart of our energy future” is the fundamental cross-cutting principle, which aims to enable and protect energy consumers.
Other principles include, “grow a green economy” to provide economic opportunities; “do more with less” to drive improvements in energy efficiency; “replace fossil fuels with indigenous renewables” to decarbonise power, heat and transport; and “create a flexible and integrated energy system” to provide value for consumers and enhance energy security.
An innovative aspect of the options consultation includes access to an open source interactive simulation, called the NI regional energy transition model. This online tool provides a representation of the major energy sectors and sub sectors, allowing users, who could be anyone – from industry to businesses to researchers to the public, to explore future changes to the energy system and to assess their impacts on current and future regional energy demand and associated CO2 emissions.
The consultation closes on 30 June 2021.