We got our Action Renewables Energy Association Manager, Ian Gordon to answer all the “what” questions we receive about our Energy Association (AREA), our exciting plans for AREA with the launch of our new webinar series “Conversations about Climate Change”, and why you should become an AREA member today.
What motivated us to set up AREA?
When Action Renewables was first established, over 17 years ago, part of our remit was to conduct research for the Department of Enterprise, Trade, and Investment (DETI) to raise awareness about the effects of climate change and the potential solutions renewable energy technologies could offer Northern Ireland. It was through this remit, that our team was motivated to establish the Action Renewables Energy Association (AREA).
Our vision at Action Renewables is to create a Northern Ireland which recognises the seriousness of our climate emergency and is prepared to take measures to mitigate against its impacts. AREA has helped us bring this vision to life; In partnering with academic and research institutions, we have utilised AREA as a platform to provoke discussion and encourage collaboration within Northern Ireland’s energy sector.
As a body, AREA has established itself as a catalyst for pushing forward our aspiration of a sustainable energy transition for Northern Ireland. Our association is driven by renewable energy experts, all of whom are striving to establish a renewable future for Northern Ireland and who utilise AREA to build upon the existing momentum within this sector.
What is our ambition as an Energy Association?
AREA has long established itself as a leading representative body for the renewable energy sector in Northern Ireland. Overall, our ambition is to help establish a Northern Ireland that has a thriving local economy, society, and environment, all of which is powered and sustained by renewables.
The role that AREA plays within this is vital. As a platform, AREA acts as a voice for those who are interested in or already invested in building a renewable future for Northern Ireland and beyond. Action Renewables actively engages with organisations and individuals across NI, ROI, and GB to share the benefits of joining AREA as a member to help generate as much awareness and knowledge sharing about the advantages of utilising renewables. The opportunity to join AREA as a member helps us to create valuable partnerships with a wide range of sectors across Northern Ireland. That way, we are able to join together and work towards creating new renewable projects, establish a much-needed renewable energy policy framework for NI and ultimately, support the continued growth and evolution of our renewable energy sector.
What makes it such a significant association in Northern Ireland?
AREA is an association of significance because of the reputation it has built as being a leading provider of renewable energy expertise and a key educator within the renewables sector. As a body, AREA represents some of the largest organisations and most progressive businesses in Northern Ireland, including Local Councils and Health Trusts that are already involved in the renewables sector and share a sustained interest in increasing their levels of contribution within this sector through membership with AREA.
AREA stands out in Northern Ireland as being one of the sole renewable bodies helping to shape the renewables sector. Each year, we aim to deliver a relevant set of events, networking opportunities and educational resources that help towards achieving our mission to lead, influence and educate the renewable energy industry.
Last year, AREA rolled out a series of roundtable thinktanks, collaborating with our members to draw up ideas to help shape policy recommendations. As an association, we continue to seek collaborative opportunities to participate in future energy policy consultations and aim to establish additional strategic partnerships with key stakeholders from both the private and public sector.
What can you expect from us in 2021?
Since the beginning of Covid-19, we have made some big changes to AREA by deciding to take things digital by moving the association’s activities online. Over the last 12 months, we launched our first webinar series, covering a range of topics including Community Energy, Marine Energy, the use of Hydrogen in NI and the importance of energy efficiency within Northern Ireland businesses.
Going digital has allowed us to attract a range of expert speakers and attendees from across the UK, ROI, and Europe, which would not have been possible otherwise. Due to our digital success to date, and to reflect the fast-approaching COP26 Conference, we have now launched a new webinar series for 2021; “Conversations about Climate Change”. This will consider key renewables topics including Northern Ireland’s energy, housing, and transportation challenges and opportunities.
Last year, AREA responded to the Department for the Economy’s Energy Strategy Call for Evidence and the Northern Ireland’s Assembly’s Micro Enquiry. We look forward to engaging with the Department again by responding to further consultation this Spring 2021. We are also aiming to reaffirm our continuing commitment to education by joining forces to become the “Climate Action” Partner in the Eco-Schools Programme.
To receive regular information on all things Action Renewables, subscribe to our newsletter, “The Catalyst” below, and to stay up to date with our AREA events, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Eventbrite.