On Tuesday 11th June, the APG on Science and Technology hosted the Renewable Energy Debate in the Long Hall, Parliament Buildings, Stormont. The event was co-hosted by Action Renewables and chaired by Steven Agnew MLA, leader of the Green Party NI, and Basil McCrea MLA who also chairs the APG.
The event opened with a broad range of talks from sector experts, followed by the debate.
Chair of the debate: Basil McCRea MLA
Expert speakers were (R-L):
Andrew Baird – Planet Solar
Dr Philip Griffiths – Associate Head of the School of the Built Environment, UU
Dr Elaine Groom – QUESTOR
Paul Younger – Professor of Engineering at Glasgow University
Duncan Botting – MD of Global Smart Transformation Ltd
David Surplus – Chair of B9 Energy Group
The message was consistent from all speakers – we have access to a broad range of proven and affordable clean generation and storage technology. By mobilising the whole family of clean-tech in abundance, we can counter the approaching energy crisis and accelerating climate crunch. The foundations already exist across industry and academia, but we must achieve deeper and wider adoption against an uncertain policy backdrop, and distorted media representation.
Our own Andy Baird described the EU’s strategy to build a new infrastructure that will drive a Third Industrial Revolution, and the case for re-designing Northern Ireland’s energy architecture around this mandated road-map. By converging energy and communications platforms we can create tens of thousands of regional jobs and a new prosperity for our society and economy. The scale of the opportunity is massive, as are the challenges we will inevitably face as we de-carbonise energy and transport systems. Andy also shared the key findings from CCG Group’s whitepaper on the treatment of renewables by the media, and urged all to recognise the communications crisis as an immediate priority.
And the central role of building applied solar was made, of course.
We extend our thanks to the APG and Action Renewables for organising and hosting the event, our co-speakers for their insights and all participants in the debate.
Special thanks are extended to the numerous pupils and students that attended. This is the generation that will inherit the foundations of change so many are now actively constructing. We have never been more hopeful and optimistic about the future.