By Isabella Kaminski
The Northern Ireland Renewable Industry Group (NIRIG) represents the collective voices of the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA) and RenewableUK in Northern Ireland.
The launch of the group took place at a renewable energy policy conference in Belfast, where delegates discussed the recently published Strategic Energy Framework for Northern Ireland.
Gary Connolly, Chairman of NIRIG, who has worked with the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) for over three years managing the development of wind projects in Northern Ireland, says: “The Northern Ireland Strategic Energy Framework is intended to provide the supporting policy infrastructure necessary to drive the development of Northern Ireland’s renewable resources. The sector has the potential to create over 1300 green jobs and dramatically reduce the 99% dependence on imported fossil fuels. It is critical that we all play a part in ensuring that the Framework is realised.”
Dr Michael Walsh, CEO of IWEA adds: “Successful implementation of the Strategic Energy Framework will require technical know-how and the ability to work across borders. Northern Ireland is leading the field in Europe in these areas. The region operates in a single electricity market with a neighbouring jurisdiction while participating in a tradeable renewable support mechanism within a different geographical and financial market. Its electricity market operates in multiple currencies.
“Cross border trade of electricity and its interaction with production of renewables are challenges that remain at concept stage throughout much of the rest of the EU but are increasingly being seen as the essential next steps towards the achievement of the EU’s economic, security and energy targets.”