The lead administrations for the Energy work sector are the Scottish Government and the UK Government.
Harnessing the significant potential of renewable energy resources across our islands represents a real opportunity to meet both our growing energy needs and our climate change goals. However, realising this potential involves overcoming technological and economic challenges which are often common among BIC Member Administrations.
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 which will continue to look at both Marine Energy and Electricity Grids and which will focus on collaboration and knowledge sharing in relation to research and funding.
In relation to Electricity Grids, the group continues to discuss ongoing cooperation among Member Administrations, such as the ISLES project, as well as the potential for further close working in future. The group has also discussed ongoing reforms within each market which are of wider interest, such as Electricity Market Reform and changes to the way the transmission network is planned and delivered in Britain.
In relation to Marine Energy, the group continues to work collaboratively across borders to further develop the marine renewables industry and tackle the ever growing need for energy whilst meeting the challenging climate change goals.
The 2nd BIC Energy Ministerial Meeting met on 15 June 2018, hosted by the Scottish Government at St Andrews House, Edinburgh. The meeting was jointly-chaired by Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy in the Scottish Government and 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 eight Administrations share the ambition to decarbonise the economy; to maximise the benefits offered by low carbon technologies; and to ensure secure, clean and affordable energy supplies for consumers. Ministers also 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 British-Irish Council Energy Work Sector continued to bring important benefits and opportunities for all of its members.