Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

DebateNI home of Northern Ireland politics

The wind is blowing in favour of green energy

The tragedy in Syria and the way it impacts on oil prices should remind us how dangerous it is to be shackled to oil from unstable regions like the Middle East for our energy needs.

Encouraging independent sources of energy, if possible at lower cost than the alternatives, is one of the most valuable services which our politicians can perform.

That is why it is worth supporting wind power – even though it is currently more expensive than the alternatives.

It is why it's important to develop wave power and it is also why we should not turn our back on fracking, or waste gasification, without very powerful reasons. When Bombardier, one of our biggest and best employers, offers to gasify 250,000 tons of waste, which would otherwise go into landfill, to power its factory, then that is something we cannot just reject on principle.

It is relatively clean and can help us meet EU targets for waste-disposal.

Bombardier points out that "energy costs in Northern Ireland are more than three times higher than those of our sister sites in North America and significantly higher than those of other competitors".

The implication is that we are at a competitive disadvantage and could lose jobs.

The fact is that energy has to come from somewhere and we can't turn our backs on domestic sources without serious economic consequences.

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