Camlough Hydro Storage Scheme

Oral Answers to Questions — Infrastructure – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:15 pm on 21st September 2020.

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Photo of Clare Bailey Clare Bailey Green 3:15 pm, 21st September 2020

T1. Ms Bailey asked the Minister for Infrastructure, albeit that she welcomed her announcement last week about the North/South interconnector, which is a good first step forward for our long underfunded energy infrastructure, whether she has had any discussions with her officials about resurrecting the Camlough hydro storage scheme. (AQT 391/17-22)

Photo of Nichola Mallon Nichola Mallon Social Democratic and Labour Party

I have not had any discussions with officials on that matter, but I am keen to raise it with them later on.

Photo of Clare Bailey Clare Bailey Green

It would be good if the Minister could, because this is key. Consumers in Northern Ireland have been paying very high energy rates and I see this as one of the reasons, along with the lack of storage and infrastructure, why we need to get that balance. The scheme started 40 years ago and a lot of work was done, but it has stalled. In the current context, this a good opportunity not just to lower prices and increase availability but for a great, green job-creation scheme.

Photo of Nichola Mallon Nichola Mallon Social Democratic and Labour Party

I share the Member's view. We have the importance of securing the supply of energy but also, as the Member has pointed out, the importance of ensuring that it is affordable to people. We are keen to do what we can to ensure that we have security of supply but also to bring down prices. It is very important too that, where we can, we maximise the opportunities to increase the provision of renewable energies.