Lawther issues call for action on renewable energy

Alliance Sustainability Spokesperson Cllr Alan Lawther is calling for the Assembly to take more action on renewable energy, saying that a smart grid should be constructed for Northern Ireland and that progress should made to harness geothermal energy here.

Antrim Councillor Alan Lawther said: “We need to be radical on our renewable energy policy to ensure we are not held back from reaching our potential in this sector. We urgently need the go ahead for several projects that will help us develop more renewable energy here.”

Cllr Lawther is calling for several actions: “Firstly, I am calling for the Assembly to help deliver a smart grid for Northern Ireland. This will help us to harness the potential of wind energy available throughout Northern Ireland and transmit it to our homes and industry.

“Secondly, I would like to see DETI ensure there is policy in place to allow Antrim to harness the abundant geothermal heat available in the area. Antrim Council has wanted to progress this for quite some time and in committee we were told that the Assembly is holding it up. Since we first discussed this, several areas in England have managed to get projects well under way and we could be left behind. Some councillors were in Germany to see the potential of a geothermal heating system and all were very impressed.

“Thirdly, I would call on the Stormont Executive to match England in the way it encourages the installation of PV roof panels. PV cells generate electricity from the sun. I believe that having an increased grants scheme for renewable energy system installation is crucial. Also, I discovered that Antrim and other councils charge £160 for building control fees on these installations and I have asked that we review these fees, and hope they can be greatly reduced to encourage people to invest in this zero carbon energy.

“All these measures could be easily done and will reduce our dependence on oil and gas, as well as reducing our carbon footprint.”


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