Call for investment in renewables
The Northern Ireland renewables sector needs urgent investment in infrastructure to reach its full potential.
That's the view of the Northern Ireland Renewable Industry Group (NIRIG) which reckons the region has the potential to become a world leader in the sector, given the right support.
"The renewables industry stands ready to invest but it requires the associated infrastructure to be in place," Gary Connolly, chairman of NIRIG said.
"Delays cost money to all concerned, including the consumer."
Speaking at NIRIG's Investing for the Future annual conference, he pointed to the north-south interconnector as a good example of the need for investment.
"It is clearly understood that the absence of this new line costs consumers in excess of £20m and yet construction remains a challenge. It is imperative that new infrastructure is delivered in a timely manner while at the same time ensuring that the concerns of those closest to the infrastructure are properly addressed."
He said increased focus on renewable energy is being driven by the challenges of climate change and carbon emissions, and the fact that investing in renewable energy makes economic sense.
"There are exciting opportunities off Northern Ireland's coast to develop both offshore wind and tidal resources," he added.