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 & 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 Renewables Obligation places a legal requirement on all Northern Ireland licensed electricity suppliers, from 1 April 2005, to provide Ofgem (on behalf of the Northern Ireland Authority for Utility Regulation (NIAUR) 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 to 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.

Other related links 

Useful Links

Further information 

For further information on the Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation please contact:  

Renewable Electricity - Telephone: 028 9052 9515

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