Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 2 October 2014

Action Renewables Conference - firms strike while the iron is hot

Anita Watts, Aramark & Brian Rankin, Oaklee Homes Group.

 Invest NI, Oaklee Homes Group, Belfast Health & Social Care Trust, OFGEM, Belfast City Council, and UCIT were among one hundred public and private sector organisations who were in attendance this week at the Action Renewables Conference, which addressed concerns and promoted the benefits of the Renewable Heating Incentive (RHI) for small and large businesses in Northern Ireland.

The organisations were both exhibitors, who assisted companies from all over NI in solving their needs for alternative fuels for their businesses, and organisations of all sizes hoping to take advantage of the incentives offered by the RHI.

The primary objective of this ground-breaking initiative is to increase uptake on renewable fuels to 10% by the year 2020. The RHI will also help to reduce Northern Ireland's reliance on imported fossil fuels and can help address the issue of fuel poverty, as well as helping to achieve Carbon reduction targets.

The event, which included distinguished speakers including Dr John Gilliland OBE, Managing Director, Original Heating; Viscount Brookeborough; Dr Edmund Ward, Senior Technical Manager, OFGEM, and Professor Sue Christie, CEO of NI Environment Link, among others, emphasised the need to ‘strike while the incentive is hot,’ and encouraged businesses and organisations to join the RHI sooner rather than later to avail of the strong incentives offered at the beginning of this 20 year scheme.

Speakers including Professor Sue Christie aired their concern over the speed of adoption for renewables in the UK and Ireland, but remained optimistic that through increased awareness of the benefits and financial assistance throughout the adoption process, the 10% goal can be met.  While currently only available to non-domestic heat users, the RHI will soon be opened to residential customers.

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