Skip to main content

Summary report of the first in a series of Policy Eye roundtable discussions on the Path to Net Zero Energy

By April 9, 2024No Comments2 min read

We are pleased to publish a summary report of the first in a series of Policy Eye roundtable discussions on the Path to Net Zero Energy, which took place on 10 November 2023 at the offices of law firm Cleaver Fulton Rankin Solicitors in Belfast. Twelve leading players from government and industry discussed how to best manage the shift from fossil fuels to renewable sources of power and heat in Northern Ireland.

The move to renewables is a key pillar of the Northern Ireland Executive’s long-term Energy Strategy and will require significant collaboration and engagement. We think our series of roundtable discussions will help give the process the momentum it needs to succeed.

The event was co-hosted by Cleaver Fulton Rankin Solicitors and the EAI: Electricity Association of Ireland. It was chaired by industry commentator Jamie Delargy, who called on delegates to shine a light on potential routes to ‘net zero’ and asked how they might address barriers to progress, including deficiencies in the planning system and grid network and lack of ‘routes to market’ for renewables.

Delegates heard how the move to renewables has raised energy security concerns and how these might be mitigated through the creation of a new innovative, integrated renewables-based energy ecosystem, as well as existing solutions such as the north-south interconnector.

They also heard how Northern Ireland’s livestock industry is well placed to support decarbonisation of the gas network through a series of large-scale biomethane plants, the first wave of which are already under development. The role of heat pumps and the practical and financial implications of a large-scale roll out were also addressed.

Finally, the planning system was identified as a significant barriers to renewable with one participant describing it as “opaque and inconsistent”.

You can read the summary report here.