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While fossil fuels dominate local power production, Northern Ireland will suffer from the volatility of worldwide shifts in the cost of oil, gas and coal.

Posted on: November 13th, 2008

That was the message from Energy Minister, Arlene Foster, as she launched a scoping consultation on the development of a revised strategic energy policy for Northern Ireland, today.

Speaking to delegates at the sixth annual Northern Ireland Energy Conference in Belfast, Arlene Foster said that Government will continue to encourage the use of renewable power, and work to bring about the improvements in infrastructure needed to enhance security and diversity of energy supply, and to support economic activity.

Arlene Foster said: “We face many challenges in creating a sustainable energy infrastructure that will support economic growth, and provide for a reliable and competitive energy market for Northern Ireland. While fossil fuels continue to dominate local power production and transport in Northern Ireland, we will continue to suffer from the volatility of worldwide shifts in the cost of oil, gas and coal.

“This means planning for a sustainable energy future that will also deliver on EU climate change targets and increase security of energy supplies for domestic and business use. The era of us relying on cheap fossil fuel energy is over and we must become more energy efficient by seeking to reduce our energy consumption.”

The Minister continued: “It has been four years since the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) published an energy strategy document. The time is now right for us to revise the 2004 Strategic Energy Framework (SEF), in the light of changing global and national circumstances, and to reflect the priorities of the Northern Ireland Executive.”

The Minister concluded: “The objective for us all is to achieve a successful, sustainable, long-term future for energy in Northern Ireland, through innovative and ambitious actions, involving a shared vision with industry and partners throughout the rest of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.”