Northern Ireland's Green Energy Push

According to Secretary of State, Peter Hain, the Government of Northern Ireland is proposing changes to the Building Regulations to make renewable energy generation compulsory on all new builds from 2008.

That means that within 2 years it will be mandatory that all new homes, company and public buildings will be micro-generating energy via solar panels (to heat hot water) and solar photo-voltaic panels or small wind turbines to self-generate electricity.

“Changes will come into effect in November that will result in a 40 per cent reduction in emission and set onerous targets to encourage the use of renewables."

Launching the £8m renewable energy Household Programme in Comber, County Down, Mr Hain added that:

"Northern Ireland is leading the rest of the UK in renewable energy and the Government is introducing initiatives to stimulate the use of green energy across the board."

The Household Programme is part of the Environment & Renewable Energy Fund announced by Mr Hain back in February and is run by Action Renewables alongside the Energy Saving Trust and Northern Ireland Energy Action.

Under the programme grants will be available to install renewable energy systems in some 4,000 exisiting households with families on low income and social housing set to benefit from 100% grants to install solar hot water systems.
Mr Hain's promotion of renewable energy is rooted in his own practical experience, where installing photo-voltaic panels on his home in Wales has reduced his energy bills by 50%.