Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation

The Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation (NIRO) has been the main support mechanism for encouraging increased renewable electricity generation in Northern Ireland. It operates in tandem with the Renewables Obligations in Great Britain - the 'ROS' in Scotland and the 'RO' in England and Wales - in a UK-wide market for Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs) issued to generators under the Obligations.


The NIRO, like the Obligations in Great Britain, obliges electricity suppliers to produce a certain number of these ROCs for each Megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity which they supply to their customers in Northern Ireland or to pay a buy-out fee that is proportionate to any shortfall in the number of ROCs being so presented. The scheme is administered by Ofgem on behalf of the Northern Ireland Authority for Utility Regulation (NIAUR).

The NIRO places a legal requirement on all Northern Ireland licensed electricity suppliers, from 1 April 2005, to provide Ofgem with evidence that a specified quantity of the electricity supplied to final consumers can be accounted for by generation from renewable sources. 

You can find out more about how the ROCs mechanism works at the following link:  

NIRO closure

The NIRO closed to new large scale onshore wind on 31 March 2016, to new small scale onshore wind on 30 June 2016 and to all other technologies on 31 March 2017, with exceptions for those projects that met the criteria for grace periods.

All grace periods have expired and the NIRO is now closed to all new renewable electricity generation. It is important to note that all those projects already accredited will continue to receive ROCs for 20 years from their accreditation date or until 31 March 2037, whichever is earlier.

Fixed Price Certificates

The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, along with the Scottish Government and Department for the Economy, on 31 July 2023, published a Call for Evidence regarding the potential transition of the Renewables Obligation schemes to a Fixed Price Certificate model. The Call for Evidence closes on 9 October 2023 and is available at: Introducing Fixed Price Certificates into Renewables Obligation schemes: call for evidence - GOV.UK (

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