Policy Forum for Northern Ireland

We are continuing to organise full-scale virtual conferences which retain all the features of physical seminars, including full programmes, presentations with slides, panel discussions and live delegate questions and comments sessions, person-to-person and group networking, and a permanent record provided to all delegates afterwards. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time, so there are plenty of opportunities to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are.
For booking-related queries or information on speaking please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk, or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7538736244 / +44 (0)7951044809.

If you’re already booked on, joining instructions can be accessed from five working days before your conference via the booking dashboard. Need help? You can contact our Delegate Relations team at delegate.relations@forumsupport.co.uk or by calling the above number.

The future for Northern Ireland energy policy - the energy strategy and net zero targets, security of supply, and the impact on industry and consumers

December 2020

Price: £95 PLUS VAT

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***
This conference will examine the future for energy policy in Northern Ireland - and implications for the energy sector, its partners and customers.

We also expect discussion on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, lessons that can be learned for the future, and extra support that might be needed going forward.

The discussion is bringing together stakeholders with key policy officials who are due to attend from the Department for the Economy; the Department for Infrastructure; the Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment, ROI; the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs; the Northern Ireland Environment Agency; the Northern Ireland Audit Office; the Committee on Climate Change; the Department for Education; and BEIS.

The agenda:

  • Energy policy in Northern Ireland - key priorities for the Energy Strategy
  • The role of the energy sector in meeting the 2050 net zero targets
  • Next steps for the development of the grid and interconnectors
  • Ensuring security of supply and effective infrastructure to meet future energy needs
  • Challenges for the market in the energy transition
  • Key priorities for the energy transition in Northern Ireland a suppliers perspective
  • Balancing priorities - costs, competition, innovation and fuel poverty

Developments that are relevant to the discussion:

  • a new Energy Strategy:
    • drafting by the Department for Economy of NI’s long term strategy which will run from 2021-2050, following the consultation - with expected measures for:
      • emissions - enhancing sustainability and delivering on climate change law by 2050
      • competition - building competitive markets for consumers and businesses
      • infrastructure
      • regulation and governance
    • Micro Inquiry into the Energy Strategy - the Committee for the Economy preparing its report for sharing with the Department for Economy
  • North South Electricity Interconnector - granted planning permission by the Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon MLA
  • energy security - a focus for Northern Ireland as the UK negotiates its future relationship with the EU
  • Tomorrow’s Energy Scenarios Northern Ireland - SONI’s report on energy transition towards the overall UK net-zero target for 2050
  • the Reducing emissions in Northern Ireland report - with concerns from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC):
    • progress - finding that the region needs to catch up to meet the UK’s 2050 Net Zero obligations
    • prospects - estimating that, on the current trajectory, NI would fall short of the 2030 level recommended by the Committee

The discussion in detail:

  • policy priorities - key issues emerging from the Energy Strategy consultation - with a white paper expected to be published in due course
  • climate change - the role of the energy sector in meeting carbon emission goals in the context of the anticipated Climate Change Bill proposed in the New Decade, New Approach agreement:
    • conventional energy - its position in a low carbon economy
    • promoting renewable energy - priorities going forward, including funding and provision of incentives for the renewable electricity industry and supply chains
    • decarbonising the heat sector - with the majority of homes in Northern Ireland heated by oil, and the previous unsuccessful renewable heat programme 
  • energy markets - looking at their future in Northern Ireland, including the potential impact of Brexit and the progress of the Integrated Single Electricity Market Project (I-SEM)
  • infrastructure - and priorities for Norther Ireland’s energy transition:
    • investment - in grid capacity to allow for the development of further renewable energy production
    • smart - the way forward for greater grid flexibility and system upgrades
    • LEVs - including the electrification of private transport, and requirements for a shift to greater number of electric vehicles and build the capacity for electrification of other sectors
  • energy security - priorities in the context of UK negotiations with the EU over the future relationship:
    • diversification - increasing the range of energy sources
    • imports - prospects decreasing reliance
    • connections - energy links with the rest of the UK and the Republic of Ireland, including the second North/South Interconnector following the return of the Executive
  • transition:
    • stakeholders - implications for the energy sector, business customers, and consumers, and managing the impact
    • costs for consumers - maintaining low household bills and reducing the high rate of fuel poverty
    • business costs - promoting business competitiveness in Northern Ireland, and options for reducing the high costs for large energy users
    • innovation - including the use of data to reduce cost and use of energy

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by officials from the Department for the Economy; the Department for Infrastructure; the Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment, ROI; the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs; the Northern Ireland Environment Agency; the Northern Ireland Audit Office; the Committee on Climate Change; the Department for Education; and BEIS.

Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly and senior officials from the Northern Ireland Executive, regulators and other agencies, representatives of energy and utilities companies, the renewables sector, consumer groups, large employers - including intensive energy users - and academics, together with reporters from the national and trade media based in Northern Ireland and elsewhere.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

This pack includes

  • Dropbox video recording of the conference
  • PDF transcript of the discussion, including all speaker remarks and Q&A
  • PDFs of speakers' slide material (subject to permission)
  • PDFs of the delegate pack, including speaker biographies and attendee list
  • PDFs of delegate articles