Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation

The Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation (NIRO) is 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.

Background

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:  

Latest News..

Renewables Obligation Closure (No.2) Order (Northern Ireland) 2016

The Renewables Obligation Closure (No.2) Order (Northern Ireland) 2016 was approved by the Northern Ireland Assembly on 27 June 2016 and comes into operation on 29 June 2016. The Order closes the Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation (NIRO) to new small scale onshore wind (up to 5MW) on 30 June 2016 and also introduces exceptions in the form of grace periods. The Order can be viewed by clicking the link below.

Renewables Obligation Closure (No.2) Order (Northern Ireland) 2016

Consultation on proposed closure of the Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation to new small scale onshore wind

The Department has launched a consultation on proposals for closure of the Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation (NIRO) to new small scale onshore wind projects.  This follows the recent decision to close the NIRO to large scale onshore wind projects from 1 April 2016. 

The consultation proposes options for closure of the NIRO to small scale projects set within the context of the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s intention to protect GB consumers if Northern Ireland does not close the NIRO on equivalent terms to Great Britain.

The consultation closes for responses at 5pm on 9 May 2016. The consultation can be viewed by clicking the link below.

Consultation on proposed closure of the Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation to new small scale onshore wind

Closure of the Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation to new onshore wind in 2016

In September 2015, the Department published a 2 week consultation on proposed early closure of Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation (NIRO) to onshore wind in 2016. The Department has now published its response to the consultation and it can be viewed by clicking on the link below:  

The response confirms closure of the NIRO to large scale onshore wind from 1 April 2016 with exceptions in the form of grace periods for eligible projects. The NIRO will remain open for the time being to small scale wind until further consultation is completed. The Minister will consult further on closure arrangements for small scale onshore wind, which must now be set in the context of DECC’s intention to protect GB consumers if Northern Ireland does not close the NIRO on equivalent terms to GB. 
The proposed closure to large scale wind will be adopted in a Renewables Obligation Closure Order (Northern Ireland) 2016 which is intended to come into operation in mid March.

Closure to large scale wind has been introduced in the Renewables Obligation Closure Order (Northern Ireland) 2016. The Closure Order was approved by the NI Assembly on 15 March 2016 and can be viewed at the link below or at legislation.gov.uk.

Published: 16 March 2016

Introduction of Changes to Biomass Sustainability Criteria - Draft Renewables Obligation (Amendment) Order (NI) 2016

In October 2012, the Department issued a supplementary consultation on enhanced sustainability criteria for the use of biomass feedstock in stations accredited under the Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation. This was in line with the Renewables Obligations (RO) in GB. The Department’s consultation response was published in October 2013. A further consultation on technical adjustments to sustainability and reporting provisions for solid and gaseous biomass was held in October 2014 and a response published in March 2015. The Department’s intention had been to introduce the legislative provisions in line with GB on 1 December 2015; however, this will not now happen until sometime in the New Year. Until this time, operators and interested parties should continue to refer to the legislation currently in force in NI.

A draft Renewables Obligation (Amendment) Order (NI) 2016 was laid in the NI Assembly on 14 January 2016.  It can be viewed at legislation.gov.uk.

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Useful Links

Further information 

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

Renewable Electricity - Telephone: 028 9052 9428

 

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