Northern Ireland is on course to become the first country in the UK to adopt a system of cooperatives in electricity generation, transport and distribution.
Cooperatives in the power sector would have a major impact on the country’s energy future.
It is estimated that the Northern Ireland power sector will need around 500 megawatts of new generation capacity by 2030, a figure that has been put at £1.4 billion.
Currently, the power industry generates about 80% of the countrys energy demand, with around half of that coming from nuclear generation.
Electricity generation from nuclear is the single largest contributor to Northern Irelands electricity bills.
It currently generates around £5.5 billion annually.
The Northern Ireland Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) is currently working on a plan to create a cooperative energy sector.
This is an ambitious project that will bring together a range of stakeholders to create the first national cooperative electricity generation system in the United Kingdom.
With a minimum investment of £100 million, this will see more than 1,000 people working in a shared responsibility to produce and distribute electricity in the region.
“It’s an ambitious plan, but we’re looking forward to the day when this scheme becomes a reality,” said NERC Chairman John MacCarthy.
More on BBC Sport:Cooperativism in Northern Irish politics The NERC is a body that sets national and local energy policies in Northern Europe, with a focus on energy security, social justice and sustainable development.
Its mandate also includes ensuring that the power system is fair, transparent and accountable.
It is chaired by Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster.
Northern Ireland’s first Cooperative Energy Corporation (CECC) was set up in 2015 to oversee the creation of the Northern Power Networks (NPNs), a joint venture between the Government and the Irish Government, to help deliver the Northern power network.
The NPNs currently provide power for about 10% of Northern Ireland, and are due to be fully operational by 2020.
The Northern Power Network is currently the largest in the country.
It provides power to over 40% of UK households, and has helped to boost electricity demand in Northern England, the region’s poorest area.
According to NERC, the NPN was set to be the first cooperative in the European Union, but the scheme has been suspended.
Following the suspension, NERC will seek public consultation to determine whether the scheme should continue.
NERC said that the cooperative energy market has been growing at a rapid rate in the Northern Irish power sector.
The number of cooperats in the market has grown by about 40% over the past five years, and in 2017, there were more than 200 cooperatives operating in the area.
The Cooperativa Latina, or co-operative energy service, is the largest cooperative energy provider in the Republic of Ireland, accounting for almost 60% of all cooperatives across the UK.
The NERC said it was encouraging people to consider participating in the NPL, and said it would provide an open invitation for those who wish to join.
“If you’re interested in participating in this new scheme, we encourage you to contact the NERC and let us know your plans and requirements,” said MacCartha.
“We’ll also be keeping you up-to-date on the progress of the scheme as it progresses.”
Northern Ireland is currently in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Second World War. “
It’s also a great opportunity to see where we could go from here, and how we can all get better.”
Northern Ireland is currently in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Second World War.
The country has been hit hard by the global financial crisis, the collapse in oil prices, and the impact of the Brexit vote.
The Government has announced it will take action on Northern Ireland by introducing a number of measures to address the financial crisis.
The first step is to introduce the Northern Partnership Framework, a framework that will provide guidance for the implementation of the NPP, as well as a package of measures that will help address the impacts of the crisis.
“We want to build on this momentum and see the Northern Electricity Supply Network (NESN) become a success, so that we can build on it and make sure it’s a successful enterprise for all stakeholders,” said McCarthy, adding that the NESA would work with the Cooperativism community in Northern Lothian to identify further steps to ensure the scheme is successful.
Northern Ireland was one of the first European countries to adopt co-operatives.
In the UK, there are currently four co-ops in operation, with the NSEN currently operating with the largest number of co-op members.