This seminar brought together key stakeholders and policymakers to examine the future for energy policy in Northern Ireland. It followed the publication of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee report on the electricity sector in Northern Ireland, and came as policymakers considered the basis of a forthcoming Energy Strategy, and in light of political uncertainty.
It was a timely opportunity to explore the latest thinking on tackling the challenges and barriers to the completion of the North-South Interconnector - including planning delays and community objections - and looked at the next steps in the completion of the Integrated Single Energy Market (I-SEM), including the latest in market-modelling ahead of the go-live date, and the potential impact of Brexit.
Those attending looked at options for further infrastructure development - such as closing, upgrading or redeveloping current generation sites, as well as the possible increased use of energy storage and other technologies to address the impending energy deficit, and to ensure flexible capacity - and provided an opportunity to examine the latest work on creating an energy framework in a changing market.
Further sessions examined options for future development of renewable energy post-2020, particularly looking at opportunities for the development and use of technologies other than onshore wind - especially in light of closure of the Renewable Obligations for onshore wind energy - and dealing with community, planning and environmental challenges to the expansion of renewables.