An energy lawyer has described Northern Ireland as “behind the curve” for further renewables development, saying the lack of a formal pricing support mechanism leaves the region at a massive disadvantage for new projects in comparison to GB and RoI.
Richard Murphy, Head of Energy (Ireland) at Pinsent Masons highlighted the issue in front of over 150 energy stakeholders as they gathered at La Mon for the NI Energy Forum.
“The UK has committed to net zero emissions by 2050, whilst the Republic has placed a milestone of 70% renewables by 2030.
“Those are not just targets to grab headlines. They are underpinned by real policy frameworks and support mechanisms in the form of Contracts for Difference (Great Britain) and Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (Rep. of Ireland).
“By contrast Northern Ireland has no stated ambition, no new target, no policy, no formal support to drive further development – in short we’re behind the curve. Each day that this situation continues, our neighbours progress. They attract investment, they grow market knowledge, they develop engineering and skills, and they build infrastructure.”
“The anticipated call for evidence this Autumn on a new Strategic Energy Framework in NI from 2020 is both over-due and welcome. Hopefully this work means that by the time a Minister reaches their desk, the detailed considerations of what we need is already completed, and they can move quickly with the implementation of a plan.
“Hitting our 40% renewables a year ahead of target proves that with the right policy, investment and development does follow and Northern Ireland can take advantage of opportunities in a greening economy. But for now, whilst others race ahead, we must wait.”