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(NIRIG media release – Thursday 12th September 2019)

The Northern Ireland Renewables Industry Group (NIRIG) is delighted to announce that the former leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland, Steven Agnew, is to take up a new role as head of the organisation at the start of October.

Northern Ireland now generates 44% of its annual electricity needs from renewable sources, with wind providing 85% of this. The renewable energy industry is determined to build on this success in the years ahead, under Mr Agnew’s leadership.

He is standing down from his position as MLA for North Down in the Northern Ireland Assembly, which he has held since 2011. He served on the Enterprise, Investment and Trade Committee as well as the All-Party Group on Renewable Energy.

During his highly successful political career, Mr Agnew played a leading role in decarbonising Northern Ireland’s economy. He also introduced a law requiring children’s authorities to work better together, the Children’s Services Co-operation Act.  He was the leader of Green Party in Northern Ireland from 2011 to 2018, overseeing a fourfold increase in membership.


Steven Agnew said: “Northern Ireland is leading the way on renewable energy generation and we can do even more in the years ahead. I’m looking forward to the challenge of securing further green growth, jobs and investment – as well as low-cost electricity for consumers”.

NIRIG Chair Rachel Anderson of RES said “I’m delighted to welcome Steven to NIRIG. During his time as an MLA, Steven has been a passionate champion of renewables. I know he will be a strong advocate for NIRIG as we strive to achieve a low carbon, high growth economy in Northern Ireland and I look forward to working alongside him.”

NIRIG is a joint collaboration between the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA) and RenewableUK.

 Dr David Connolly, CEO of the Irish Wind Energy Association, said: “We’re delighted to have someone of Steven’s experience and keen understanding of the political system in Northern Ireland joining NIRIG.

“The only way Ireland can achieve our target to provide 70% of our electricity from renewables by 2030 is by working closely with Steven and our colleagues in Northern Ireland. Together we can decarbonise our electricity system and ensure homes, farms and businesses across the island are powered by clean renewable energy.”

RenewableUK’s Chief Executive Hugh McNeal said: “We’re looking forward to working with Steven in his new role in NIRIG. He brings passion, expertise and leadership at this critical time.”


A photo of Mr Agnew is available on request

For further information, please contact:

  1. NIRIG is the voice of the renewable electricity industry in Northern Ireland, providing a conduit for knowledge exchange, policy development, support and consensus on best practice between all stakeholders.
    Committed to making a positive difference, it promotes responsible development, supports good community engagement and the deliverer of low-cost electricity generation from sources such as onshore wind, solar and storage, using our greatest natural resources. NIRIG operates through technical working groups focusing on areas such as grid, planning and markets, and brings together expertise from across its membership to deliver better policy for the facilitation of increasing levels of low-carbon generation. More information on NIRIG is available here.
  2. NIRIG is a joint collaboration between the Irish Wind Energy Association and RenewableUK, working closely with both trade bodies on issues impacting the renewables electricity sector in Northern Ireland.