The eight Member Administrations of the British-Irish Council share the ambition to decarbonise the economy; to maximise the economic and environmental benefits offered by low carbon technologies and to ensure secure, clean and affordable energy supplies for consumers. The eight administrations are similarly united in their desire to tackle climate change.
At the twelfth BIC Summit in February 2009, the Council agreed the establishment of the BIC Energy work sector with two groups focused on addressing these challenges: Marine Renewables (led by the Scottish Government) and Electricity Grids (led by the UK Government).
Following a successful programme of work, Ministers agreed at the London Summit in November 2015 that the two subgroups which form the BIC Energy work sector should merge. In the time since the two groups were established their policy focus has become more closely aligned. The Scottish and UK Governments remain as joint Chairs of the group.
The 2nd BIC Energy Ministerial Meeting was held on 15 June 2018, hosted by the Scottish Government at St Andrews House, Edinburgh. The meeting was jointly-chaired by the Scottish Government minister, Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy and the UK minister, Lord Duncan of Springbank, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Scotland and Parliamentary under Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
BIC Ministers discussed and reviewed the briefing prepared by BIC Energy officials entitled Energy: Towards a Clean, Green Economy. Ministers welcomed the briefing, which highlighted energy policy developments in each of the eight Member Administrations. Ministers noted that all Member Administrations face common challenges including the threat of climate change, the desire to make greater progress in energy efficiency, and the need to ensure energy security. Ministers recognised that the path each administration is taking towards a low carbon future varied according to regional strengths, availability of natural resources and political priorities but noted that by sharing information and experiences the BIC Energy work sector continued to bring important benefits and opportunities for all of its members.
At the UK Summit in June 2019, Ministers discussed and reviewed a paper prepared by the BIC Energy work sector: ‘Making the Transition to a Smarter Energy System’. Ministers discussed the approaches which were most effective in realising the transition to smart energy systems; the barriers needed to be overcome, and also priorities for research and innovation funding. Ministers considered how smart energy systems could be promoted at a local and community level.
Further information on energy policy may be obtained from each administration. The following is not exhaustive but may prove useful for further reading:
1. Northern Ireland:
2. UK Government:
8. Isle Of Man: