Ulster Farmers' Union comment on renewable support scheme consultation
The Ulster Farmers’ Union has welcomed the consultation on design considerations for a Renewable Electricity Support Scheme for Northern Ireland.
It was announced earlier this month by the Department of Economy (DfE).
UFU deputy president, William Irvine, stated: “This consultation is the first step towards the implementation of a support scheme in NI, ensuring sufficient renewable electricity generation from a diverse range of renewable sources.
“A support scheme is essential to deliver on the NI Executive’s Energy Strategy targets and the ambition of achieving 80 per cent renewable electricity consumption by 2030, as set out in the Climate Change Act (NI) 2022. It will also help ensure that NI can effectively attract investors that can benefit from green growth opportunities while also protecting consumers from global price shocks.”
The consultation seeks input from stakeholders on the design considerations. This includes specific components of the scheme including options to define the principles underpinning the scheme, support structure and eligibility requirements.
Everyone who has an interest in renewable electricity development and the wider energy sector is encouraged to provide comments by answering the public consultation questions. This will provide DfE with valuable insight, which will be analysed and considered throughout future stages of development and implementation of a renewable electricity support scheme for Northern Ireland.
Mr Irvine continued: “Whilst it’s good news that a consultation has been launched, any future strategy needs to be inclusive. Government must ensure local energy projects are supported not just at an industrial level, but for smaller farm scale renewable projects. The UFU have been lobbying for this and for greater policy support. A thorough analysis of the price support for renewable energy needs to be undertaken including the price at which renewable energy producers sell power to the national grid.
“A new government renewable electricity support scheme will provide a platform for a more acceptable approach to renewable energy development in NI. Drawing from our previous success from on farm renewables, we want to press on and use our previous experience and optimise opportunities, but we need adequate government support to help us do this,” he added.
The UFU will review the consultation in full and ask members to feed their views through their committee representatives for inclusion.