Economy Minister, Simon Hamilton has published his response to the consultation on arrangements for the closure of the Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation (NIRO) to new small-scale onshore wind projects.
Commenting on the response the Minister said: “Following closure of the NIRO to large-scale onshore wind from 1 April 2016, my Department consulted on the closure arrangements for small-scale onshore wind projects. This consultation was set in the context of the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) intention to take a ‘backstop power’ to protect GB consumers if Northern Ireland did not close the NIRO on equivalent terms to GB.”
The Minister continued: “Approximately 93% of respondents who indicated a preference supported the recommendation to close in June 2016.
“Taking account of the likely impact of DECC’s ‘backstop’ power and the tenor of the majority of consultation responses, I intend to bring legislation to the Assembly to close the NIRO to new small scale onshore wind and existing small scale generating stations adding additional capacity before the end of June if Assembly timelines permit.”
The Minister concluded: “I believe this decision will bring closure to the NIRO in a manner that delivers the maximum amount of megawatts at the least cost to consumers.”
Notes to editors:
- The Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation works in conjunction with the GB ROs but the policy and legislation is devolved to Northern Ireland.
- The NIRO closed to new large-scale onshore wind projects, along with its counterparts in England, Scotland and Wales, from 1 April 2016.
- The costs of incentivising renewables is socialised across all UK electricity consumers. Large-scale onshore wind such as wind farms, account for over 90% of the total renewable electricity consumed in Northern Ireland.
- The legislation implementing the decisions in this response will be set out in a Renewables Obligation Closure (No.2) Order (Northern Ireland) 2016, subject to the approval of the Northern Ireland Assembly.
- The response to the consultation can be found on the Department for the Economy website
- For press queries please contact Department for the Economy Press Office on 028 9052 9604. Out of office hours please contact the Duty press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.
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