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A new strategy aimed at phasing out Northern Ireland’s reliance on fossil fuels has been announced.
Economy Minister Gordon Lyons said the Path to Net Zero Energy strategy would ensure Northern Ireland’s energy is secure, affordable and clean for future generations.
He said: “Recent energy price rises are impacting on every person and business in Northern Ireland
Our new strategy sets out how we will work towards phasing out fossil fuels
“This is happening because of the global price volatility that comes with fossil fuels.
“Our new strategy sets out how we will work towards phasing out fossil fuels, ending this volatility and ensuring that more of the money we spend on energy stays in the local economy and helps to create wealth and jobs.
“The Path to Net Zero Energy sets out a path to 2030 that will mobilise the skills, technologies and behaviours needed to take us towards net zero carbon and affordable energy by 2050.”
Energy accounts for almost 60% of Northern Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions.
The strategy sets the target of delivering energy savings of 25% from buildings and industry by 2030.
It also sets the targets of meeting at least 70% of electricity consumption from a diverse mix of renewable sources and doubling the size of the low carbon and renewable energy economy to a turnover of more than £2 billion by 2030.
Mr Lyons said: “By setting and achieving these targets, we are putting ourselves on a path to transform how we develop and consume energy.
“Decarbonising energy means achieving so much more than carbon reductions.
“We are already world leaders in integrating renewable electricity generation and we can also become world leaders in the new hydrogen economy. We will play to our strengths.
“Our world-leading engineering sector will be at the centre of this.”
The new strategy was developed with collaboration and engagement across government, industry, and energy consumers.
This strategy provides a real opportunity for Northern Ireland to contribute to the decarbonisation agenda goals
John French, Utility Regulator
Steven Agnew, head of RenewableNI, said: “RenewableNI fully supports this strategy’s ambition to deliver wholly decarbonised electricity as a core enabler of a net zero carbon and affordable energy system.”
Noyona Chundur, chief executive of the Consumer Council of Northern Ireland, said: “We support the new energy strategy and are committed to working in partnership to deliver it, and the consumer education, support and empowerment needed to help our citizens through their changing energy future.”
John French, chief executive of the Utility Regulator, said: “This strategy provides a real opportunity for Northern Ireland to contribute to the decarbonisation agenda goals whilst ensuring energy bills are affordable for everyone.”