Antrim Alliance Councillor Alan Lawther has said the £60 million investment in renewables must help people across Northern Ireland to convert to environmentally friendly fuel sources to help alleviate fuel poverty. He has called for Government to lead by example in its own buildings.
Cllr Lawther stated: “Although the £60 million investment in renewable energy is welcome, it must mean value-for-money. Specifically, the Government itself is one of our biggest energy users and it must lead by example. There is no reason, for example, that the Stormont estate could not be heated by renewable energy sources.
“We also need to ensure that subsidies for solar panels, small-scale wind turbines and geothermal energy are realistic enough to persuade significant numbers to look at them. But we must also find a way to make renewables available across the board, not just to those in large homes who can afford it comfortably.
“Fuel poverty is an every-day reality for many people across Northern Ireland, and it would be very disappointing if a £60 million Government investment paid for by these people’s rates did not help to alleviate that. In these days of global uncertainty in oil-producing regions, renewables have the potential not just to be environmentally friendly but to provide an affordable alternative to traditional fuel sources. We must realize this on everyone’s behalf so far as possible.”