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It involves collaboration between women representatives from key energy sector organisations and academia, specifically: policy makers (Department for the Economy), utility regulators (UREGNI), renewables industry (NIRIG), transmission and distribution networks (SONI and NI Electricity Networks), consumer representatives (NEANI, Consumer Council NI), leading public affairs consultancy (STRATAGEM) and Ulster University.

The recent announcement by Environment Minister Claire Perry, with potential commitment the UK to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, means that all UK jurisdictions will have to define strategies for this target.

NI has abundant renewable energy resources, high dependence on oil heating (62% of domestic sector), poorly developed gas networks and high rates of fuel poverty (42%). These features present opportunities for developing decarbonisation pathways towards the 2050 target and highlight the paramount importance of research in relation to decarbonisation of heat sector.

This project will aim to initiate the development of NI’s unique pathways to heat decarbonisation.


The primary goal of this project is to form a network with a focus on:

  1. collaboration between women representatives from key energy sector organisations and academia
  2. identifying and investigating the barriers and opportunities towards the decarbonisation of heat in Northern Ireland.

Its specific aims and objectives are to:

  1. Initiate a discussion between energy stakeholders, the energy industry and consumer/business representatives on the decarbonisation of heat in Northern Ireland and support interactions and dialogue between such groups
  2. Gain a better understanding of the knowledge and skills which exist in relation to the decarbonisation of heat in NI and any relevant work currently being undertaken
  3. Investigate barriers and opportunities in relation to the decarbonisation of the heat sector in Northern Ireland
  4. Use information and evidence to create a wider awareness of heat decarbonisation issues among other stakeholders and decision makers in order to help inform and realise future environmental, social and economic benefits from heat decarbonisation
  5. Increase the voice of women in the Northern Ireland energy sector

Steering Committee

Steering committee members
NameRole Company/ Organisation
Edel Creery Connections Manager NI Electricity Networks
Fiona McCausland Head of Energy Efficiency Branch Department for the Economy (DfE)
Grainne Walsh Head of consultancy STRATAGEM
Lisa O’Neill Network Connection Design Engineer NI Electricity Networks
Meabh Cormacain Manager Renewable Industrial Group NI
Orla Gray Energy Policy Advisor UREGNI
Pat Austin Director NEA NI
Roisin McLaughlin Head of Network Operations at the Utility Regulator UREGNI
Sarah Foster Access Planning Engineer SONI
Sinead Dynan Director Consumer Council

The steering committee is made up of experts and stakeholders in aspects of energy.

They are devoted to using their knowledge, skills and experience to provide input to the consideration of barriers, opportunities and pathways for the decarbonisation of Northern Ireland.

The members are committed to using their expertise and knowledge on various aspects of energy to engage with other experts and stakeholders through the project’s workshops.

Their specific roles are to:

  1. Provide the project with strategic advice and input on heat decarbonisation and interrelated energy issues, reflecting the specific characteristics and circumstances of the Northern Ireland energy sector and consumers
  2. To provide a challenge function and act as a sounding board on specific areas of work relevant to the project
  3. To attend meetings as per an agreed schedule as well as workshops and launch event
  4. Actively participate in meetings through discussion, and review of papers and other Expert Panel documents
  5. Ensure input is provided to the Chair in a timely manner to ensure that the project can be delivered to plan
  6. Act on opportunities to communicate positively about the project
  7. Work with the Chair to ensure that the project is aligned with the UKERC objectives
  8. Provide input and advice on networking workshops/focus groups, networking questionnaires and the launch event – including, for example the format, key speakers, key questions


This project will feature a series of workshops aiming at creation of discussion and dialog between various market stakeholders, support awareness of heat decarbonisation issues.

The themes and dates for the workshops are:

Workshop I

“Barriers and opportunities for residential heat decarbonisation in Northern Ireland” 13 February 2019

Workshop II

"Opportunities and challenges for non-residential heat decarbonisation" 19  March 2019

Workshop III

"Heat infrastructure as a key milestone for heat decarbonisation" 12 June 2019

Workshop IV

"Energy policy and Regulation for efficient and timely heat decarbonisation in Northern Ireland"  18 September 2019


This project will culminate with the Final seminar (17 October), where we will share the key outputs of the project and invite leading industry experts to present their visions for heat decarbonisation in Northern Ireland and beyond.


In order to register for the first workshop and/or express your interest in the forthcoming workshops, please, email us:

Dr Ruchira Ghosh or Dr Stephanie Ogunrin