Decarbonise our economy and society
• Energy generation and distribution • Developing a circular economy • Decarbonising homes and buildings
Our society remains heavily dependent upon fossil fuels and Northern Ireland is, unfortunately, lagging behind other UK regions in the reduction of our carbon emissions. Strong progress has been made in many areas of sustainability and clean energy production. However, if we are to meet the goals outlined in the Climate Change Act and The Executive’s Green Growth Strategy, we must plan for change across every sector of our economy (such as transport, energy, housing and land use).
Energy generation and distribution
We will need to reduce the amount of energy we require and change how we produce, store and use it in order to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. We will therefore need to invest in our electricity-generating capacity; improve the transmission and distribution network; and develop new storage systems.
Our dependence on petrol and diesel vehicles will have to end. More than 40% of vehicles here will need to be electric by 2035. This will require significant investment across urban and rural areas in rapid charging stations, electricity generation, storage, distribution and battery recycling.
Decarbonising homes and buildings
Investment in housing, water and wastewater treatment facilities and buildings will be required to improve energy efficiency. We will need to exploit opportunities to further decarbonise – by using bio-gas or gas blended with hydrogen. Our leadership in energy efficiency should act as a catalyst for new supply chain and job opportunities so that all sectors can deliver.