Designed to replace the existing Strategic Energy Framework in Northern Ireland, the Department for the Economy (DfE) is developing a new Energy Strategy and has called on industry, businesses and the public to submit their views and have their say on how the Government should best tackle climate change.
“UKIFDA is always supportive of climate change strategies and welcomes the development of the new Energy Strategy by the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland,” says Guy Pulham, UKIFDA Chief Executive.
“Currently, 67% of homes in Northern Ireland rely on oil for heating so it’s vital this sector has a solid and sensible plan for transitioning to a low carbon liquid fuel – and something we see little indication of, in Westminster or other devolved areas, is of a joined-up approach to decarbonisation within sectors.
“This is a key part of our submission on the Energy Strategy as refiners and importers need aligned plans for how this transition to low carbon liquid fuel can happen in order to effectively improve the supply chain.
“By linking transport decarbonisation plans to other energy sectors, this will have a positive impact on off-grid home heating transition plans.”
The right technology for the right home
Many of the homes in Northern Ireland heated by oil are in rural locations and the buildings are older, making retrofitting technologies such as heat pumps unviable in many cases.
Guy Pulham comments: “Key to the successful transition to low carbon liquid fuel is encouraging households to make energy efficiency improvements such as upgrading to an efficient boiler or insulating their home – measures that instantly cut emissions and make it more likely the household can embrace technologies for further improvements down the line.
“We agree that new homes should be the first to adopt new technologies as unlike off-grid homes, the fabric of these properties suits the technology. For the older, off-grid homes the Northern Ireland boiler replacement scheme should be encouraged for the instant energy and emissions savings it offers – for example, upgrading to a condensing liquid fuel boiler would create a 20% saving in energy and carbon emission today.
“Liquid fuels continue to be one of the most cost-effective means of heating homes, according to the Sutherland Tables, and has been for some time. We’re committed to finding a way to make it more energy efficient too and UKIFDA together with OFTEC and TSA trade associations are running a trial this year of a blended bio/kerosene fuel across the UK and Republic of Ireland to complement the successful biofuel trial of 2010. This time, there will also be input from primary supply, distributors, and boiler and tank manufacturers.”
“Overall, we are supportive of a proposed Energy Strategy,” adds Guy Pulham.
“We just want to highlight that the policy should be technology neutral and the right technology should be encouraged for the right home – otherwise we run the risk of increasing fuel poverty. By focussing on the consumer and meeting their individual needs, we can meet both the Net Zero targets and do so in a realistic, supportive fashion.
“UKIFDA welcomes a meeting with the Northern Irish Government to discuss the issues raised by this consultation. We want to help with the plan for a new Energy Strategy that meets decarbonisation needs as well as the needs of off-grid consumers.”