North’s renewable energy sector must be explored

8 11 2013

SDLP MLA Fearghal McKinney says the growth of the North’s indigenous renewable energy sector should be explored in a bid to deliver cheaper energy prices to homeowners and businesses.

 The SDLP spokesperson on energy made the call at the annual SDLP party conference in Armagh at the weekend when members backed a motion agreeing to adopt a wider vision on energy policy.

 Mr. McKinney, the SDLP spokesperson on energy, said the issue of fuel prices was uppermost in everyone’s mind, particularly in light of a recent PWC report highlighting housing and utility bills are squeezing incomes most of all and account for 26% of family budgets. Mr. Mc Kinney said the North must be established as an energy exporter, a vision the SDLP are calling on the Northern Ireland Assembly to share.

 “That solution is the growth of our indigenous renewable sector. The North is well placed to harness the potential of tidal and wind energy. However, if we are to embrace fully a renewable energy supply, we have to accept that in the short term this may be a costly vision. 

 “Significant upgrades to our current transmission and distribution infrastructure are needed. These necessary upgrades will be extremely costly in the short term but, if carried out, will lead to more affordable, clean and secure energy future.

 “The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment must work closely with the Department of the Environment and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to stimulate the development of renewable energy. All possible mechanisms must be deployed to create the right conditions for the growth of the renewable sector.”

The assemblyman reiterated the SDLP position it does not support frackingwithout the additional scientific investigations that must be carried out in order to justify further explorations.

 “We must approach this issue with a robust knowledge base – using the most up-to-date geological survey information. I believe fracking will not provide us the enhanced energy security or increased affordability.”

  

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