SDLP Jobs and Energy Spokesperson Sinéad McLaughlin has said an investment in green jobs in the North West could be transformative for the area.
She said the region was uniquely placed to harness new energy sources and this could lead to the creation of well-paying, skilled jobs to address the region’s history of economic neglect.
The Foyle MLA was speaking during a Zoom event on Monday evening.
She was joined by former Environment Minister and fellow Foyle MLA Mark H Durkan, Fianna Fail Senator Niall Blaney, academics and local stakeholders.
The SDLP Jobs and Energy Spokesperson said:
“The North West is uniquely placed to drive the green agenda across the island of Ireland, we have the attributes here and we need to use them more powerfully to create jobs. The area is rich in renewable energy resources, we have wind turbines, tidal power and the potential for wave power, among other new energies.
“Renewable energy can be both cheap, clean and create jobs. There is a need to eliminate the air pollution that comes from solid fuels which would also contribute to better health and wellbeing. There Is also a need to retrofit our homes for energy efficiency and we need to put more emphasis on solar panels. There’s lots more to be done and all of that that will lead to a demand for skilled jobs.
“Renewable energy gives us the opportunity to create jobs and utilise low cost and readily available resources. The Northern Ireland Protocol also presents us with opportunities. None of us are enamoured with Brexit, but the fact is we have a market and competitive advantage and we should be working on opportunities to provide jobs for people within the renewable energy sector.
“I’m calling on the Department for the Economy and the electricity grid systems operator SONI to support improved renewable energy infrastructure in the North West to increase investment and create a new generation of well paid jobs. I am currently in discussions with developers to attract new investment in jobs in the region and we can be confident about the future. We can create thousands of new skilled jobs through the deployment of technologies needed to attract investment on both sides of the border.”