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Sinn Féin MLA to urge greater support for sustainable energy sector

17 February, 2013 - by Phil Flanagan

Sinn Féin MLA Phil Flanagan said a motion he has proposed that will be debated at the Assembly tomorrow will call on the Executive to encourage and support further growth in sustainable energy.

The Fermanagh & South Tyrone MLA and Deputy Chair of the Enterprise, Trade & Investment Committee said:

“Despite the continuing global economic pressures there is considerable potential where the Executive can be more focused in order to make a difference for citizens.

“Over the last few weeks, the committee has looked at various reports quantifying the potential for job creation within the green economy and it is clear the Executive could be doing more to support this sector. It is for that reason that I put forward this committee motion.

“The introduction of schemes such as the renewable heat incentive, warm homes scheme and grants to generate renewable electricity have had a positive impact on the growth of the green economy.

“Five hundred people emigrate from the north every week, many of them with a qualification or trade in the construction industry and these skills could easily be turned to the sustainable energy sector.

“There are very few public buildings which are using renewable sources and even the Housing Executive proposes that tenants in gas enabled areas should only be allowed to use gas to heat their home and barred from switching to renewables.

“We should be exploring the potential for district heating schemes in housing estates using renewable heat, rolling out combined heat and power plants in rural communities and increasing the use of micro-generation in all areas of our society.

“Government needs to take the lead in this and demonstrate that these are workable alternatives by installing them in public facilities.

“These options would create additional and more sustainable jobs, reduce carbon emissions, increase security of supply and make a significant dent in the 42% of households living in fuel poverty.” 

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