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Stormont needs to turn up heat on climate goals

Published 18/05/2015

With the UN climate change conference in Paris coming up this year, not enough is being done in this country to meet the climate change targets set by the Stormont Executive.

One of these targets is to have 40% of electricity generated from renewable sources by 2020; this is currently around 20%.

But with projects such as the First Flight Wind farm off the south Down coast being scrapped in December 2014 due to regulatory requirements, this target looks unlikely. This wind farm alone could have supplied 13% of our electricity requirements.

At the moment, 80% of the country's electricity comes from finite sources: oil, gas and coal - all of which are imported at a considerable cost.

With substantial wind and tidal energy potential all along our coast, why is this still the case?

More needs to be done by our Stormont ministers to encourage wind farms and tidal energy projects, instead of having regulatory requirements which can hinder development and could potentially stop them before they start.

In a few decades' time, oil and gas will inevitably become scarcer and eventually disappear - all the while becoming more expensive.

Renewable energy sources are not without their issues, but continual technological advancements mean that associated costs and energy-storage issues are reducing rapidly. Renewable energy investment now will give us energy independence and stability, along with reducing detrimental environmental impacts as well.

If we continue to follow our current path, we will have no choice but to pay extortionate prices outside our influence for scarce oil and gas in the coming decades.


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