Northern Ireland has a significant renewable energy resource which, if harnessed appropriately, can contribute to addressing major social issues such as climate change, fuel poverty, energy security and rising energy costs.

NIEL Recommendations

  • New and ambitious long–term policies and incentivisation to support renewable energy production
  • Discourage fossil fuel exploration in Northern Ireland, including the use of unconventional methods of extraction (fracking)
  • Strategic approach to addressing our future energy needs based on sustainable growth of the renewable energy sector and more integrated strategy and policy across sectors
  • Strategic planning and development of grid infrastructure taking account of local resource availability
  • Energy efficiency improvements to existing housing stock to reduce fuel poverty, create employment and address GHG targets
  • Promote zero carbon efficiency rating within all new buildings
  • Visual, landscape, amenity, ecological and community impacts to carry more weight in determining planning applications for renewable energy infrastructure
  • Halt the unsustainable proliferation of medium–large scale single wind turbines across Northern Ireland and instead promote a strategic approach to the development of onshore wind energy. Updated Landscape Character Assessments combined with landscape/seascape capacity and environmental sensitivity studies to inform the identification of spatial zones which encompass land suitable for major wind power developments
  • Prevent the development of major renewable energy infrastructure within Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB’s)
  • Encourage investment and incentives/financial packages to deliver a new green economy, while placing an emphasis on equipping people with the skills and training to seek active employment in a green economy. A green economy can deliver win–win outcomes for society, the economy and the environment

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