The Northern Ireland Renewables Industry Group, Solar Trade Association and British Hydropower Association united this morning to call for a target to supply 70 per cent of Northern Ireland electricity from renewables by 2030. A comprehensive report by leading energy and utilities experts Baringa says it is technically possible and cost neutral for Northern Ireland to use renewable energy to supply 70 per cent of our electricity by 2030.
Northern Ireland has a target of 40% electricity from renewables by 2020, which we expect to reach this year. However, we also have a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in 2025 by at least 35% compared to 1990 levels. Progress is falling short, and policy barriers are preventing full use of our local energy resources.
Across the UK ambitious targets for low-carbon heat, electric and renewable transport and smart power systems exist but our own ability to grasp the potential for innovation and investment in clean growth is being stymied by the lack of political direction. The absence of plans to create more flexible systems for energy means that we may be stuck with an energy system of the past unless we make decisions now to move forward into the future.
Rachel Anderson, NIRIG Chair, said: “When we set renewable energy targets for 2030 we will be shaping our energy and climate action policies for a generation. The evidence from the Baringa report is clear. An electricity system using 70 per cent renewable energy by 2030 is not only practical, it is – at a minimum – cost neutral for the consumer.
“With the right leadership we can be ambitious for our energy future and for our role in the fight against climate change. What we need is an energy policy to drive investment and jobs for the next decade by setting a 70 per cent target for renewable electricity.”
Full press release: Renewable energy unites on 70×30 22 Jan 2019
The summary report can be found here.
The detailed modelling and analysis can be found here.