North Antrim Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay has said that the decision by the Department of Enterprise not to bring forward legislation that will facilitate the development of geothermal energy in North Antrim is a ‘stalling’ tactic.
He said that the Department’s focus on gas must not be used to block alternative projects that could provide cheaper energy.
Mr McKay said:
“Those who want to develop geothermal energy in County Antrim and Ballymena in particular are becoming more and more frustrated at the brick wall that the Department of Enterprise have erected to block the development of geothermal energy here.
“The Department excluded geothermal energy in the recent Renewable Heating Incentive proposals and now they are stalling on bringing forward legislation that is required and that is already in place in most countries. At present there is no definitive judgement on ownership right to geothermal energy. The Minister has confirmed that they are not going to bring similar legislation forward here and will instead wait and see what governments in Britain are going to do.
“Putting this work on the long finger is not and should not be an option.
“At a time when Energy and the cost of heating our homes is becoming such a huge issue Minister Foster cannot be stalling on ensuring that we are well placed to attract investment for such renewable projects in North Antrim that could ultimately lead to cheaper household bills. I agree with the Minister that we must ensure that the cost benefits of gas should be brought to many more households but it should not be used as an excuse to block alternative forms of energy that could help improve the quality of life for people living in this area.”