SDLP Foyle MLA Sinéad McLaughlin has said harnessing renewable energy sources has the potential to transform the North’s jobs market.
Speaking as the COP26 conference focuses on the potential of green energy to tackle the climate crisis on Thursday, Ms McLaughlin said renewable energy provided huge opportunities to grow the North’s economy.
The Foyle MLA said:
"The North has a magnificent opportunity for job creation and economic growth off the back of our renewable energy resources. It is essential that our Executive recognises this and provides the investment needed to maximise this opportunity. As well as onshore wind, we have as yet undeveloped potential for offshore wind farms, as well as tidal and wave energy opportunities, geothermal heat and large-scale solar energy farms being developed.
"These energy sources provide low cost, environmentally sustainable economic development opportunities. It will increasingly make sense for new types of industry to establish themselves close to those energy sources.
"Our society must also take bold steps to reduce carbon emissions from home heating, with government leading the way through the adoption of a Green New Deal and investing heavily in improving energy efficiency in the home. This will cut both fuel poverty, which has become a huge issue, and carbon emissions.
“Unless we do much more to improve home insulation we are at risk of missing our carbon reduction targets. Not only will improved home insulation make our society more environmentally sustainable, it will also create a significant number of well-paid new jobs that are badly needed in the North.”