Further to the recent consultation on changes to the Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation (NIRO) in 2013 and the subsequent government response to that consultation, additional consultation is now being undertaken across all three Renewables Obligations (ROs) on:
- Renewables Obligation Certificate (ROC) support for large scale (above 5 MW) solar photovoltaic generating stations which accredit or add additional capacity on or after 1 April 2013
- proposals to enhance the sustainability criteria that apply to the use of biomass for electricity generation under the ROs
- proposals to ensure that support for biomass under the ROs delivers value for money and affordability for the bill-payer
On 7 September 2012, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) published separate consultations on the solar PV and biomass proposals. DECC’s proposals are for the England and Wales Renewables Obligation however given the complementarities of all three Renewables Obligations the Devolved Administrations in Northern Ireland and Scotland and the UK Government understand the benefits of a consistent approach.
Northern Ireland is therefore not proposing to differ on those proposals set out in the DECC documents as we are not aware of any significant differences that would require a different approach. However, it is expected that this consultation process will either confirm this view or produce evidence-based rationale for a different approach, where necessary.
Where Northern Ireland is proposing to differ is by offering a six month grace period for Combined Heat & Power (CHP) projects up to 30 September 2015 which intend to accredit under the NIRO and for which there is not yet a Renewable Heat Incentive in place.