New agreement to benefit Northern Ireland’s environment

Date published: 16 June 2017

The Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) and energy provider AES UK & Ireland today signed a prosperity agreement.

Containing five key commitments, the agreement aims to deliver a range of benefits over the next five years including reduced carbon emissions, improved biodiversity on site and enhanced relations with the local community.

Under the agreement, AES will progress an additional 100MW battery storage array in Northern Ireland to support greater integration of renewable energy generation. This will save an estimated 123,000 tonnes of carbon each year, equivalent to taking 128,250 cars off the road.

Speaking at today’s signing event at AES Kilroot Power Station, Carrickfergus, NIEA Chief Executive David Small said: “This is the fifth prosperity agreement the NIEA has now signed with high performing Northern Ireland businesses.

“Each agreement enshrines a company’s commitment to a sustainable future for its business and the Northern Ireland environment. The agreement with AES contains some key targets which will help the energy generation sector’s transition to greater use of renewable and low carbon solutions.

“We believe these prosperity agreements are a useful regulatory tool which helps NIEA to work strategically with business. They also help companies to maintain excellent compliance with their obligations and to look for new commercial opportunities with environmental benefits." 

AES is a leading energy provider in Northern Ireland and is investing in its assets to improve sustainability and to accelerate a transition to new energy solutions while ensuring cost effective, security of supply for consumers.

Today’s agreement demonstrates its commitment to improve environmental performance and business growth, while also delivering the best environmental outcomes for Northern Ireland. In addition, collaboration has also started on a joint marine monitoring plan which meets the needs of AES and NIEA in terms of data quality, improved sampling techniques and information sharing.

Also speaking at today’s signing, AES UK & Ireland President Ian Luney said: “As a company, we are delighted to be signing this agreement with NIEA which recognises the positive relationship we have built with the regulator and enables us to reach for even more aspirational environmental targets. 

“A partnership approach such as this can help businesses to address the step changes which are needed to respond to the challenges of climate change, resource efficiency and support Northern Ireland’s economic growth. 

“With last year’s installation of the Kilroot Advancion® Energy Storage Array, AES is leading the way in promoting and supporting sustainable technological solutions for energy management and power generation and we look forward to seeing the actions outlined in the agreement bear fruit.”

Prosperity agreements are voluntary agreements, signed between NIEA and a company or organisation. They contain commitments from both NIEA and the company which will deliver significant environmental benefits, going beyond legal requirements to develop a more strategic approach between business and regulator and to help businesses realise environmental gains which will increase their competiveness.

The agreements do not remove any legal environmental obligations on the business and NIEA will still take any appropriate enforcement action, if it is required, to ensure regulatory compliance and protect the environment.

Notes to editors: 

1. Photo caption - President of energy provider AES UK & Ireland Ian Luney joins David Small from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency to celebrate the signing of a Prosperity Agreement between the two organisations. It aims to deliver a range of benefits over the next five years, including reduced carbon emissions, improved biodiversity on site and enhanced relations with the local community.

2. The Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) is an Agency within the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) with approximately 450 staff. The Agency is part of the wider Environment Marine and Fisheries Group (EMFG) in DAERA. The NIEA leads in advising on, and in implementing, the Government's environmental policy and strategy in Northern Ireland. Divisions within the NIEA undertake a range of activities that promote the Government's key themes of sustainable development, biodiversity and climate change.

3. AES UK & Ireland is part of The AES Corporation, a Fortune 200 global power company.

4. Every action in the prosperity agreement is voluntary and will improve both environmental and economic outcomes. AES will ensure they not only meet the environmental standards required, but go beyond them. They have committed to:

  • Installation of an additional 100 MW Advancion Energy Storage Array at Kilroot and / or Ballylumford.
  • A reduction in emissions over the lifetime of the agreement.
  • At least a 10% reduction in non-process consumption energy.
  • Maintaining waste diversion activities, including the recycling of up to 100,000 tonnes of waste ash per year for use in the construction and mining industries.
  • Working with NIEA Marine and Fisheries Division on a joint marine monitoring plan.

5. This agreement is the fifth such agreement signed. The existing agreements are with Linden Foods/Linergy (August 2014), Lafarge Cement Ireland (March 2015), John Thompson and Sons (July 2016) and Coca Cola Hellenic Bottling Co. (Feb 2016). NIEA is continuing to work with progressive organisations to explore the possibilities that a Prosperity Agreement could bring.

6. For more information, please contact: or visit the DAERA website.

7. Follow us on Twitter @daera_ni.

8. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office on 028 9052 4619 or email DAERA Press Office. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07623 974 383 and your call will be returned.

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