Growing Something Brilliant in Northern Ireland
For the third consecutive year, we had the great pleasure of sponsoring the Northern Ireland Chamber’s “Growing Something Brilliant” conference.
Earlier today, I addressed an audience filled with business leaders, politicians and NGO’s from across Northern Ireland at the NI Chamber's Growing Something Brilliant Leadership Conference. Over the last three years, the conference has provided a great platform for SSE Airtricity to tell its story of positive growth in Northern Ireland and today was no different.
At SSE Airtricity, our core purpose is to provide the energy people need in a reliable and sustainable way, and we are passionate about expansion and growth in Northern Ireland.
Since 2008 we have invested over half a billion pounds into Northern Ireland’s economy, and we are continuing to invest. We recently announced the creation of over 100 new jobs in our new Belfast office, and we continue to expand our renewable development portfolio with the building of new windfarms.
It is extremely important to SSE, as well as to our customers and society in general, that we are responsible in everything we do, whether it be as a developer, an employer or energy supplier and so on. SSE is proud to be the biggest official living wage employer in the UK, benefitting employees here in Northern Ireland. Our business has also achieved the Fair Tax Mark and it pays it taxes to support the public services we all benefit from.
We also work closely with communities across the province. Only yesterday we announced a record breaking performance for our Northern Ireland Community Fund, handing out more than £300,000 to communities in the vicinity of our wind farms in Tyrone and Derry~Londonderry.
SSE has capital to invest, and we want to invest some of this into Northern Ireland’s energy future. However, the policy context must be stable for us to realize this investment. Issues such as reopening Northern Ireland’s renewable energy target and raising doubts about the introduction of the CfD support for renewable generation, which had previously been settled, puts a strain on the case for renewable investment. We are keen to work with government on these and other issues in order to get the best possible outcome for ongoing business and investment here, in Northern Ireland. More positively, we hope that recently introduced planning reform will help to speed up decisions, which is good for everyone.
We are also delighted that our sister company, SGN will be expanding the gas network to the West and we welcome that a gas solution will be available to local homes and businesses in that area in the near future.
Our customers we work with here in Northern Ireland matter to us, and our aim is to continue working with them and in turn being a driver of economic prosperity for Northern Ireland. We know that energy is a facilitator for other sectors so we know the importance of getting it right.
Our message is simple, we are doing our best to win SSE’s investment capital for Northern Ireland, to bring competition to the energy supply market, and to create a reliable and sustainable energy generation and supply business. In doing so, jobs are created and economic activity increased.
NI Chamber is doing its bit through events like this. To our politicians and policy makers – please create the policy environment to help us to do even more to grow something brilliant here in Northern Ireland.