Page last updated at 19:41 GMT, Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Energy strategy

The Alliance Party's Anna Lo said there were "glaring gaps" in the Executive's current energy policy, on 20 November 2012.

She was proposing her party's motion calling on the Enterprise Minister to develop a long-term energy strategy for a low-carbon future.

"The Green Economy is where the smart money is going," Ms Lo added.

Patsy McGlone of the SDLP outlined the Enterprise Committee's views on renewable energy.

Speaking for himself, he said the cost of fossil fuels was making it difficult for people to heat their homes, or run a car.

Mr McGlone said Northern Ireland was far behind other countries.

"Green energy is the future," he said.

Robin Newton of the DUP said the proposers of the motion were "guilty of looking at the current energy policy with political blinkers on".

He defended the Strategic Energy Framework, saying that the targets were being met.

Sinn Fein's Phil Flanagan welcomed the motion. He said it was clearly not an attack by the Alliance Party on the Executive, or the minister.

Mr Flanagan said there was a need for long-term planning on energy up to 2050.

Sandra Overend of the UUP commented that renewable energy was often said to be Northern Ireland's single biggest economic opportunity.

Green Party MLA Steven Agnew said Northern Ireland could become a low-carbon economy through EU legislation, through the loss of fossils fuels, or by seizing the opportunity represented by renewable energy.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster indicated that the emphasis on renewable energy could already be seen in the Strategic Energy Framework.

"We must do energy-saving before we do anything else," she said.

The motion was carried on an oral vote.


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