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Sustainable NI welcomes Northern Ireland Energy Strategy but flags concern over blue hydrogen

On 16 December 2021, Northern Ireland’s Economy Minister, Gordon Lyons launched ‘The Path to Net Zero Energy’ – setting three targets in energy efficiency, renewables and green economy.

Nichola Hughes, Executive Director at Sustainable Northern Ireland, commented: “We welcome the publication of the Energy Strategy for Northern Ireland – ‘Path to Net Zero Energy’. We are pleased that the strategy raises ambition on energy efficiency, heat decarbonisation and renewable electricity. It makes an important commitment to making energy more affordable as Northern Ireland transitions to a low carbon society.  

“We support the strategy’s focus on heat pumps as a low carbon technology vital to the decarbonisation of heating in homes.   

“Another key commitment is the planned pilot of a significant domestic retrofit scheme. This will take the specific requirements of heat pumps into account, supported by a dedicated one-stop-shop advice and support service and information and awareness raising campaigns. These measures will help to achieve the target of 25% energy savings from buildings and industry in Northern Ireland by 2030.  

“We hope to see further details of transport policies as part of the Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Plan and Local Transport Strategy next year, particularly on commitments to the transport hierarchy, reducing the number of miles driven and developing low carbon transport businesses in Northern Ireland.”

"We note that the Strategy places a significant emphasis on hydrogen as a key energy source for the future and would support further expansion of Northern Ireland's renewable electricity industry, so that we can seize the economic and social opportunities presented by green hydrogen production. We would not want to see a situation where Northern Ireland moves backwards by using blue hydrogen, a fuel that has 20% more greenhouse gas emissions than coal or gas."

The Northern Ireland Energy Strategy, Path to Net Zero Energy, can be accessed here.