Skip to main content

Electricity sector in Northern Ireland inquiry launched

27 April 2016

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee launches an inquiry into the electricity sector in Northern Ireland, which faces a number of challenges in the coming years.

Focus of the inquiry

The Committee invites written evidence on its new inquiry with a view to holding public evidence sessions in June and July. Among other issues, the Committee seeks evidence on:

  • What challenges does the Executive face in meeting its target for renewables to contribute 40% of electricity supply by 2020?
  • What steps are required to prevent an anticipated shortfall in generating capacity in the coming years?
  • What are the factors underlying higher electricity prices in Northern Ireland, and how can these be tackled?
  • What steps are required to improve interconnection with the Republic and the GB markets?
  • What difficulties arise for Northern Ireland from the need to make UK energy policy work in the context of all all-island electricity market?
  • How effective is the Northern Ireland Office and Department of Energy and Climate Change in ensuring that the aspirations of the sector and the Executive are taken fully into account in the development of UK energy policy?

Submitting written evidence

Written evidence should be submitted online via the inquiry page. Submissions should follow guidance on written submissions.


The Committee asks for written submissions in accordance with the guidelines by Wednesday 1 June 2016. As a guideline submissions should be no longer than 3000 words.


Northern Ireland's electricity sector faces a number of challenges in the coming years. It has an ambitious target to achieve 40 per cent renewables by 2020, against a backdrop of reductions in the subsidies for onshore wind.

There are concerns regarding security of supply in the coming years because of constraints on the interconnectors with the GB and Republic of Ireland markets, and implementation of the EU Emissions Directive. And there are long-standing concerns over the cost of electricity, and the impact this has on both domestic and business consumers.

Responding to these challenges within the context of trying to make UK policy work in an all-island market places Northern Ireland in a unique position.

Chair's comment

"The Northern Ireland electricity sector is unique within the UK in having to make policies that originate in Westminster work within an island-of-Ireland electricity market. The industry faces several challenges in the coming years, including an ambitious target for renewables, achieving adequate security of supply, and ensuring sufficient interconnector capacity. Linked to this, energy prices remain an ongoing concern, both for domestic consumers in Northern Ireland, and large businesses. Our inquiry will examine the reasons for these relatively higher prices, and look to make recommendations that will bring Northern Ireland in line with the GB and Republic of Ireland markets."

Further information

Image: iStockphoto