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Vision 2050: Options for a New Northern Ireland Strategic Energy Framework

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SSE Logo Phoenix Natural Gas logo NIE Logo






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The energy sector on the island of Ireland sits on the cusp of transformation. Climate change has begun to drive decarbonisation, digitisation will transform the management of consumption, while emergent technologies promise both demands on energy networks and great benefits.

To guide this transformation with a fresh vision the Department for the Economy has set out to develop a new Strategic Energy Framework for Northern Ireland post-2020.

On 11 September 2019, Chambré Policy Eye NI Events, in partnership with Cleaver Fulton Rankin, will host a landmark conference providing unique insights into the issues that need to be considered as the Department seeks to develop an energy vision for 2050.

With participation from senior officials from across the NI Civil Service, industry leaders and politicians this event promises an unparalleled opportunity to inform government thinking.

We hope you will take this opportunity to join us in the impressive surroundings of Titanic Belfast to learn about the options before us and share your perspective, helping to shape the future of energy in Northern Ireland.

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Richard Rodgers Jenny Pyper, Chief Executive at the Utility Regulator Charlie Simpson

Richard Rodgers

Head of Energy Group at the Department of the Economy

Jenny Pyper

Chief Executive at the Utility Regulator

Charlie Simpson

Partner & Head of Mobility 2030
Global Strategy Group at KPMG UK

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Stephen Cross Jo Aston Declan Billington MBE
Stephen Cross

Director and Head of Energy at Cleaver Fulton Rankin

Jo Aston

Managing Director at SONI

Declan Billington MBE

Chair at CBI Northern Ireland   Energy Forum

Michael McKinstry Pat Austin Andrew Cripps
Michael McKinstry

Group CEO at Phoenix Natural Gas

Pat Austin

Director at NEA Northern Ireland

Dr Andrew Cripps

Regional Director, Sustainability at AECOM

 Tom Woolley
Karl Purcell

Programme Manager of Behavioural Economics Unit at Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI)

Grainia Long

Commissioner for Resilience at Belfast City Council

Professor Tom Woolley

Visiting Professor at Anglia Ruskin University

David Smith

Chief Executive at ENA (Energy Networks Association)


John Young

Head of Policy, Northern Ireland and Ireland at SSE

Dara Lynott

Chief Executive at Electricity Association of Ireland

Professor Neil Hewitt

Professor of Energy/Director of the Centre for Sustainable Technologies at Ulster University

Paul Stapleton

Managing Director at NIE Networks

Chris Johnston

Principal Scientist & Project Leader, Agri-Environmental Technologies Unit at AFBI

Gary Middleton MLA

Assembly Economy Spokesperson at Democratic Unionist Party

Eleanor McEvoy

Chair at FSB Northern Ireland Energy Group

Councillor Daniel Baker

Energy, Environ. & Climate Change Spokesperson at Sinn Féin

Stephen Farry Daniel McCrossan

Dr Steve Aiken OBE MLA

Assembly Energy Spokesperson at Ulster Unionist Party

Dr Stephen Farry MLA

Assembly Economy Spokesperson at Alliance Party

Daniel McCrossan MLA

Assembly Energy Spokesperson at Social Democratic & Labour Party

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08:30 Morning Coffee and Registration
09:00 Opening Remarks from the Chair Jamie Delargy
09:15 Future Options: Developing the Energy Vision for 2050

Policymakers face major decisions on the future of energy in Northern Ireland. We must balance the requirement for a secure, affordable and reliable energy supply with the need to decarbonise.

This session will examine how we might design a policy to achieve these ambitions. Will we be able to generate enough low-carbon electricity to electrify heat and transport?  What does the future hold for gas, hydrogen and biomass generation? Can we reduce our industrial carbon emissions without creating new burdens on companies? And, crucially, can development of a long-term policy be truly successful, when such difference of opinion exists about the best technologies to drive our energy future?

Session Keynote Richard Rodgers – Head of Energy at Department for the Economy
Protecting and empowering: putting consumers at the heart of the energy transition Jenny Pyper – Chief Executive at Utility Regulator
Driving innovation and delivering change: the role of business as a partner of government in the energy transition Declan Billington MBE – Chair of CBI Northern Ireland Energy Forum
Implementing policy: effective regulation and support Stephen Cross – Director and Head of Energy at Cleaver Fulton Rankin
10:05 Panel Discussion/Q&A
10:50 Refreshments & Networking

Northern Ireland has made great strides in transitioning to renewable energy. In 2018, we generated 38.2% of our total electricity consumption from renewable sources.  However, significant transition still lies ahead in generation, networks and for the consumer.

In this session, we take a closer look at the main considerations to be taken into account when planning for the energy transition. We’ll ask how the cost of energy for consumers can be managed and how they can be given a chance to participate in the new structures? How we will generate our electricity in the future? What impact will the decarbonising of heat have for the wider energy system? And what are the opportunities and what must be considered as we begin decarbonising transport?

Decarbonising power: considering clean low-cost power generation options for the future Jo Aston – Managing Director at SONI (System Operator for Northern Ireland)
Decarbonising heat: implications for the wider energy system Dr Andrew Cripps – Regional Director, Sustainability at AECOM
Decarbonising transportation:  vehicle electrification and connectivity Charlie Simpson – Partner and Head of Mobility 2030, Global Strategy Group at KPMG UK
The energy trilemma: the role of gas in transitioning to a low carbon future Michael McKinstry – Group Chief Executive Officer at Phoenix Natural Gas
12:00 Panel Discussion/Q&A
12:45 Buffet lunch, networking and exhibition
13:45 Parallel Session 1

Eye on energy consumption: Use less, pay less

This parallel session will examine the role of the consumer as an active participant in our energy future. New technologies, policy makers, businesses and spatial planners all have a role to play in enabling consumers to manage, store and produce their own energy.

Chaired by

Grainia Long – Commissioner for Resilience at Belfast City Council


Pat Austin – Director at National Energy Action (NEA) Northern Ireland

Karl Purcell – Programme Manager of Behavioural Economics Unit at Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI)

Professor Tom Woolley – Visiting Professor at Anglia Ruskin University

Richard Leach – Local Area Energy Planning Consultant at Energy Systems Catapult

Parallel Session 2

Eye on Energy production: decarbonising our energy supply

This parallel session will look at the  power sources and technologies that will allow us to cut our reliance on carbon. To what extent will digital and power storage innovations penetrate the market? How will they and other innovative technologies be funded?

Chaired by

John Young – Head of Policy, Northern Ireland and Ireland at SSE


Dara Lynott – Chief Executive at Electricity Association of Ireland (EAI)

David Smith – Chief Executive at Energy Networks Association (ENA)

Chris Johnston – Principal Scientist & Project Leader, Agri-Environmental Technologies Unit at Agri-Food & Biosciences Institute (AFBI)

Professor Neil Hewitt – Professor of Energy/Director of the Centre for Sustainable Technologies at Ulster University

14:55 Refreshments & Networking
Party Assembly spokespeople outline their priorities and respond to output from parallel sessions with opportunities for questions from the floor.
Chaired by

Eleanor McEvoy – Chair at Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Northern Ireland Energy Group


Gary Middleton MLA – Assembly Economy Spokesperson at Democratic Unionist Party
Councillor Daniel Baker – Energy, Environment & Climate Change Spokesperson at Sinn Féin
Daniel McCrossan MLA – Assembly Energy Spokesperson at Social Democratic & Labour Party
Dr Steve Aiken OBE MLA – Assembly Economy Spokesperson at Ulster Unionist Party
Dr Stephen Farry MLA – Assembly Economy Spokesperson at Alliance Party

16:2o The final word: reflections on the day’s discussions Paul Stapleton – Managing Director at NIE Networks
16:30 Chair’s concluding remarks and conference close Jamie Delargy
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Image result for cleaver fult</p> <hr /> <p>on rankin

Cleaver Fulton Rankin is a market-leading commercial law firm located in the heart of Belfast City Centre, with a heritage of over 125 years. The firm provides a full legal service to both commercial and private clients, including local businesses, government bodies, national and international institutions and corporations. We consider ourselves to be their trusted legal advisors and business partners, working with them to navigate their legal issues and to provide bespoke solutions.

Cleaver Fulton Rankin has established links with many City of London law firms and other national and regional firms. Also, although entirely independent, we have an association with Dublin commercial law practice Matheson and so provide an all island service for our clients undertaking business throughout Ireland. We are also a member of the International Lawyers Network and LawNet, which gives us access to a worldwide network of commercial law firms.

Cleaver Fulton Rankin’s Energy & Renewables Team is made up of dedicated practitioners specialising in Energy Regulation, Corporate M&A, Commercial Real Estate and Environment & Planning. We work closely with our clients to provide expert advice to achieve commercial objectives.

The Energy & Renewables Team is widely acknowledged for its expertise and ability to provide practical advice to clients across the full spectrum of legal issues in this sector. We advise several of Northern Ireland’s major energy generators and suppliers, alongside other utilities and have worked on the majority of Northern Ireland’s major (i.e. 10MW plus) operating wind farms and solar farms, either for developers or funders. Our client base is diverse and includes generators, financial institutions, utilities and private sector developers.

The team has particular expertise in matters such as energy regulatory advice, land acquisition for energy projects, planning and environmental advice, construction and development of energy projects and the acquisition, disposal and financing of energy projects.

For more information please contact Stephen Cross, the head of the Energy & Renewables Team at Cleaver Fulton Rankin on 028 9027 1323 or at

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phoenix natural gas logoPhoenix Natural Gas is the largest gas distribution business in Northern Ireland. The company operates a distribution network across the Greater Belfast, Larne, Whitehead and East Down areas, extending to over 3,800km of pipeline.

After 22 years in Northern Ireland, Phoenix Natural Gas has successfully developed the market and built its network, connecting 220,000 customers and establishing natural gas as the fuel of choice for customers in the licence area.

Since 1996, customers switching to natural gas has resulted in 7.5m tonnes of CO2 being from the atmosphere. Each year, householders using natural gas continue to save on CO2 emissions, equating to the removal of 350,000 cars from the road each year.

Phoenix Natural Gas also embraces its corporate responsibility and connects with the local community in its outreach programmes. For more information on Phoenix Natural Gas visit

sse ireland logo

SSE is the second largest energy supplier, and leading renewable energy generator, in Northern Ireland.

Since 2008, the company has invested over half a billion pounds in the development of Northern Ireland’s sustainable energy infrastructure, helping to green our economy and secure our energy future. The green energy generated at its four operational wind farms has played a significant role in helping Northern Ireland meet its 40% target of electricity generation from renewable sources by 2020.

The company is now aiming to develop Doraville Wind Farm near Cookstown in Co. Tyrone which, at £150m, would represent its single biggest investment in the economy here to date. The 139MW wind farm would produce enough green energy to power around 200,000 homes, doubling the company’s generation capacity in Northern Ireland.

SSE Renewables has so far presented almost £2 million in community funding to groups close to its wind farms in Northern Ireland, supporting a variety of local energy-efficiency and sustainability projects. The company has also provided over £350,000 in scholarship funding to over 120 local students attending Ulster University, South West College and North West Regional College.

Meanwhile, SSE Airtricity is Northern Ireland’s second largest energy supplier, providing greener electricity, natural gas and essential services to around 350,000 home and business customer accounts in Northern Ireland.

In 2015, the company announced a naming rights partnership with Northern Ireland’s premier entertainment venue, The SSE Arena, Belfast. Through its SSE Reward programme, SSE Airtricity customers can access exclusive ticket presales and ‘money-can’t-buy’ experiences for shows at the Arena.

SSE employs over 200 people directly in Northern Ireland and is proud to be an accredited Living Wage employer.


Northern Ireland Electricity Networks (NIE Networks) is the owner of the electricity transmission and distribution networks in Northern Ireland, transporting electricity to over 860,000 customers including homes, farms and businesses.

Our role is to maintain and extend the electricity infrastructure across Northern Ireland, connect customers to the network and ensure that our equipment is safe and reliable. We also provide electricity meters and metering data to suppliers and market operators which is a key role in enabling wholesale and retail market competition.

Our priority is to deliver benefits for all our customers and this is reflected in the important services we provide, including;

  • ensuring reliability of network performance;
  • maintaining public safety of the network;
  • minimising the impact on the environment; and
  • continually improving customer service and

Over the next five years we will invest in excess of £500 million in upgrades and maintenance of the network.  Additionally, we will invest £60 million to ensure our network complies with new safety legislation.

In addition, as climate change legislation and the decarbonisation of the energy sector is forecast to create significant growth in Low Carbon Technologies our teams are developing NIE Networks’ future strategy to meet the energy needs of customers.

NIE Networks is a regulated company and business activities are overseen by the Utility Regulator.[/accordion-item][accordion-item title=”Exhibitors” id=exhibitors state=closed]

A number of exhibition packages are still available. For further information, contact Jack Gibson on +44 (0) 28 9091 2880 or

CASE is an industry led research centre funded by Invest Northern Ireland under the Competence Centre programme. Hosted at Queen’s University Belfast, CASE supports collaborative sustainable energy research in three main areas; energy systems, bio-energy and marine renewables, with research carried out on behalf of industrial consortia at Queen’s, Ulster University and the Agri-Food & Bio-Sciences Institute. To date we have funded £5m of research over 25 projects involving 60 companies.


NHBC is the UK’s leading provider of warranty and insurance for the new homes industry. We work with our registered house builders to improve the construction standards of the new homes they build for the benefit of the industry and homeowners.

With no shareholders, NHBC is able to invest in its purpose of raising standards and activities to improve the quality of UK house-building. As an expert authority on the housing industry, active in research and development, we work with government and stakeholders to help shape housing policy.

NHBC is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.


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Representatives from the following organisations are due to attend:

  • A&L Goodbody
  • ABO Wind
  • Action Renewables
  • Agri-Food & Biosciences Institute (AFBI)
  • Air Core Ltd
  • Arena Capital Partners
  • Arup
  • B9 Energy Control Limited
  • Belfast City Council
  • Centre for Advanced Sustainable Energy (CASE)
  • Centre for Competitiveness
  • Carson McDowell
  • CBI Northern Ireland
  • Choice Housing
  • Cleaver Fulton Rankin
  • Clyde Shanks
  • Commission for Regulation of Utilities (Ireland)
  • Connswater Homes Ltd
  • Cornwall Insight
  • Deloitte NI Ltd
  • Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (NI)
  • Department for Infrastructure (NI)
  • Department for the Economy (NI)
  • Derry City & Strabane District Council
  • Education Authority (NI)
  • Electric Ireland
  • Electricity Association of Ireland (EAI)
  • Energia Renewables
  • EP Kilroot Power Station
  • ESB
  • Energy Networks Association
  • Energy Solutions (Ireland) Ltd
  • Energy Systems Catapult
  • Federation of Small Businesses Northern Ireland
  • Fichtner Consulting Engineers Ltd
  • Firmus Energy
  • Fusion Heating Limited
  • GES Group
  • Goudsmit UK
  • Horizon Energy Group
  • Indaver
  • Invest NI
  • KPMG
  • Matheson
  • McCann FitzGerald
  • MDE Installations
  • Mills Selig
  • Mutual Energy
  • National House Building Council
  • Naturgy
  • NB Housing
  • Northern Health and Social Care Trust
  • Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce & Industry
  • Northern Ireland Electricity Networks
  • Northern Ireland Environment Link (NIEL)
  • Northern Ireland Water
  • Phoenix Natural Gas
  • Power NI
  • Project Design Engineers Ltd (PDE)
  • RES Ltd
  • Robinson Concrete Ltd
  • RPS Group
  • Shoosmiths (NI)
  • SSE Ireland
  • SSE Renewables (UK)
  • Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI)
  • Systems Operator for Northern Ireland (SONI)
  • The Consumer Council (Northern Ireland)
  • The Strategic Investment Board (Northern Ireland)
  • Troup Bywaters Anders
  • Turley
  • Ulster University
  • Utility Regulator (NI)
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  • Energy sector executives
  • Environmental sector representatives
  • Energy consultants
  • Energy managers and buyers (private and public sector)
  • Consumer representatives
  • Transport providers
  • Local government officers (including planners)
  • Planning consultants
  • Architects
  • Construction sector executives
  • Manufacturers and distributors of construction materials
  • Manufacturers and distributors of heating and ventilation systems
  • Legal and financial professionals
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Delegates attending the conference will:

  • Gain an understanding of our energy future in Northern Ireland
  • Be informed about the social and economic implications of our climate change commitments
  • Have an opportunity to meet decision makers and influencers involved at all levels of the energy transition
  • Contribute to the development of a new strategic energy framework for Northern Ireland.
[/accordion-item] [accordion-item title=”Contact” id=contact state=closed]Should you have any enquiries, please feel free to contact Jack Gibson on +44 (0) 28 9091 2880 or [/accordion-item] [/accordion] [raw]