As the world grapples with the urgency of climate change, Northern Ireland finds itself at a crossroads. With the UK government’s recent decision to push back environmental targets to 2050 and the absence of a sitting government in Northern Ireland, there’s a looming threat that our progress towards sustainable solutions might stall.
However, as someone deeply entrenched in the renewable energy sector, I believe we must not only maintain our pace but accelerate our efforts to meet the 2030 climate action goals.
The challenge we face in Northern Ireland could be described as “dire”. At Everun we recognise the broader implications of our work, which encompasses everything from the development and management of wind farms and solar energy projects to providing EV charging and smart motor solutions to our clients. This commitment underpins our drive towards a greener, more resilient Northern Ireland.
Going forward towards 2030 we must ensure there is equitable access to renewable energy solutions that transcends the scope of individual sectors and squarely places the onus on collaborative governance.
The lack of a sitting government since February 2022 has hindered our progress. The introduction of the Northern Ireland Protocol, part of a Brexit agreement designed to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland, led to the dissolution of The Assembly. This political impasse has significantly impacted our ability to develop and implement policies that support renewable energy and sustainable infrastructure.
Moreover, the recent rollback of key green targets by the UK government under Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, while claiming to over-deliver on emissions reduction, sends mixed signals. While a pragmatic approach is necessary, it should not come at the cost of delaying essential environmental actions. In Northern Ireland, we are already lagging due to political and infrastructural challenges. Any further delays could be catastrophic.
Despite these hurdles, businesses in Northern Ireland are forging ahead. Many are investing in renewable technologies and more, recognising the long-term benefits and the necessity to stay competitive. This proactive stance is crucial. We cannot afford to be lulled into complacency or a false sense of security. The reality is that the cost of inaction is far greater than the expense of investing in sustainable solutions.
At Everun, we are committed to facilitating this transition. We are exploring innovative solutions with our clients to create self-sufficient, sustainable ecosystems. However, these efforts are often impeded by bureaucratic processes and a lack of governmental support.
It’s time for a collaborative effort. We need policies that encourage the development and adoption of renewable energy sources. Incentive schemes should be tailored to support not just domestic users but also the commercial and industrial sectors, which are crucial drivers of our economy. Additionally, there’s a need for an energy decarbonisation scheme that would encourage new generations of solar farms, wind turbines, and large battery storage.
As Northern Ireland stands at this critical juncture, the message is clear: we cannot afford to delay our progress towards the 2030 climate goals. We must act now to ensure a sustainable future, not just for our generation but for those to come. The time for decisive action and unwavering commitment is now.
Article by Ross Moffett, Sales Director, Everun