Electrification of heat and transport could create 5,000 jobs in NI - report
A NEW report has suggested that the electrification of the north's heating and transport systems could create up to 5,000 jobs and cut emissions by 82 per cent.
The KPMG study, commissioned by NIE Networks, said electrification could be transformative for the economy, reducing the spend on imported fossil fuels by around £1.4 billion a year.
It comes as Stormont prepares to publish a new energy strategy toward the end of this year. Industry insiders expect the executive to set a new target of sourcing 70 per cent of electricity from renewables by 2030.
But KPMG's new research claims that wider electrification has the potential to act as a catalyst for massive economic growth.
The report puts the cost of change at £9.6bn over the next two decades, including £4bn for renewables.
It's estimated that transforming the power network to support such change by 2040 will cost £1.7bn.
The ‘Electrification–Economic Opportunity for Northern Ireland' paper states that electric vehicles could represent 84% of all cars and taxis here by 2040, but again significant infrastructure, including 5,500 public charging points and £600m would be required.
The report also states that heat pumps could significantly displace the north's reliance on oil and gas for home heating, reaching 375,000 premises by 2040, at a cost of £3.4bn,
But while the spend is massive, the report states the £9.6bn could inject £18.8bn GVA (gross value added) into the economy.
Managing director of NIE Networks Paul Stapleton said: “Electrification creates a once-in-a-generation opportunity to protect and enhance the environment for this and future generations.
“The report supports what we have been pushing for that by starting the journey toward electrification of heating and transport now, we will be able to sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also saving money and creating jobs.
“Additionally, Northern Ireland will be able to benefit from being ahead of the pack by creating a cluster of skills and expertise built around the move to electrification,” he said.
“It is clear electrification of Northern Ireland's heating and transport makes sound environmental and economic sense, but it will require the assistance of government to set a clear direction to stimulate demand through regulation and investment.”