Alan Lawther said: “We have a great potential for generating electricity from wind turbines and from our tides. Northern Ireland already generates about 9% from wind power and within two years this will be closer to 12%. To achieve 20% by 2020 is possible and 40% is achievable in the longer term. We are dependent on importing our oil and gas and are liable to being affected negatively by world events which can increase the price of energy. More renewable energy will help us improve our energy security.
“Northern Ireland has over 40% of households in fuel poverty, a staggering statistic and one which we must try to improve urgently. The adoption of smart meter technologies will help people budget their energy use. It will be possible to have a scheme where a household will only use electricity at times when it is cheap to generate. Homes and businesses will be able to see their consumption and regulate it more effectively. There are even applications being developed to turn your heating off through your phone if you decide to stay out late, thus avoiding an empty home being needless heated.
“I strongly urge that we push for the rollout of smart metering right across Northern Ireland. It would greatly help reduce home and business energy bills, would also be good for the environment would and help us meet key climate change aims.”