This multidisciplinary, women‐led project will investigate barriers and opportunities on the road towards zero emission targets in heat sector, with particular focus on the indigenous features of Northern Ireland (NI).

The announcement by Environment Minister Claire Perry, with potential commitment the UK to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, means that all UK jurisdictions will have to define strategies for this target.

NI currently does not have any energy strategy beyond 2020. Moreover, all supporting mechanisms promoting new renewable projects have ceased. The current political stalemate caused by inefficient RHI highlights the paramount importance of research in relation to decarbonisation of heat sector. The unique geographical position of NI, its abundant renewable energy resources, high dependence on oil heating (62% of domestic sector), poorly developed gas networks and high rates of fuel poverty (42%), mean that NI has to develop its own unique pathways towards heat decarbonisation.

This project will be organised through collaboration between female representatives from key energy sector organisations and academia, specifically: policy makers(Department for the Economy), utility regulators (NIAUR), renewables industry (NIRIG), distribution networks (NI Electricity Networks), investors (InvestNI), consumer representatives (NEANI) and Ulster University.

A mixture of qualitative(expert reviews, focus groups) and quantitative(pilot questionnaire) will be organised by this women‐led partnership in order to identify barriers and opportunities to decarbonisation in the heat energy sector. The project will culminate with a seminar aimed at creating awareness of project outcomes and supporting dialog between different groups of market experts.

Project contact: Dr Inna Vorushylo, Ulster University (i.vorushylo@ulster.ac.uk)