LAST year didn’t end well for the renewable energy sector in Northern Ireland. The proposed early end for onshore wind subsidies remains mired in uncertainty; NIE announced a substantial delay in delivering grid connections; and the Paris Climate Agreement amounted to little more than some very vague promises.
It is so difficult to express the disappointment in the outcome of the Paris talks in a few sentences. After all the self-congratulation of the Paris Agreement adoption on December 11, you could be forgiven for thinking that it was a turning point for UK climate change policy and perhaps an end to the accelerating subsidy cuts by the Tory government.
The Ulster Farmers Union has welcomed confirmation by the DETI minister, Jonathan Bell, that he will consult separately on the NIRO (Northern Ireland Renewable Obligation) closure for small scale wind turbines. The UFU is now pressing for swift action by DETI on revised and improved proposals.
The UFU has been concerned that smaller projects, often awaiting grid connection confirmation, lost out when DETI proposed closing support for onshore wind. Along with Simple Power it has sought a judicial review of the consultation process that extended this to smaller land-based schemes.
“We are pleased DETI is reconsidering its process and consultation. We are however disappointed it has taken until now, a few weeks before the dissolution of the Assembly, to act – although we understand DETI hopes to issue the consultation before the end of March,” said UFU deputy president, Barclay Bell. He said it was clear the cut-off date for qualifying projects of 30 September 2015 is not movable, since this was set by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) in London.
Latest News NIRO
Following the consultation on the proposed closure of the Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation (NIRO) to new small scale onshore wind, the NIRO has now closed to onshore wind operators with a capacity of 5MW and under in Northern Ireland.
Further guidance regarding this closure will be issued shortly, until this time you can find some FAQs regarding the closure here.
Please note, operators of stations that meet certain criteria may be eligible for a grace period, meaning that they may be eligible to apply for accreditation up to 31 December 2018, depending on the grace period conditions they can meet. Please review FAQs for further information on this.
We are back at the office, it’s Sunday but Solar Energy UK has drawn to a close and, after the stands get taken down around me, the team at our Energy Conservation Centre are reflecting on what has been the most successful show we’ve ever attended.
The organisers of the show said that the last days visitor numbers were up a staggering 46% from last year’s and we can vouch for the excitement at the show floor level.
For us a key topic of conversation this year was the inclusion of zero upfront investment for foundation industries seeking to make energy-saving improvements to their businesses, together with our installer members and funding panel we can find the best way to pay for them.
For others the talk was the first ever very heavy industrial LED Light designed for use in dirty, dusty and very extreme temperature applications that stole the show.
Whilst everyman and his dog are rushing to meet the tight RO deadline, we are instead seeking out members who would like to focus on medium sized 50kW to 250kW solar PV (photovoltaic) installations for businesses and enhance business with a campaign to help businesses with either a Power Purchase Agreement or a Power Lease.
The government’s strategy was set out at the event for Solar, it was made clear that commercial rooftop is the sector is about to undergo a boom.
If the concept of higher Feed-in-Tariff over a shorter period would start, it might be the tool to ignite mass rooftops by encouraging financiers to match payback to hire purchase, leasing and even debt finance schemes.
Elsewhere, the Energy Conservation Centre played host to some interesting visitors and we look forward to meeting with the prospective agents/ installer partners soon.
talks on Electric Vehicles and their increasingly important role to those working in the clean energy space. Keith Budden, head of business development at Cenex explained that EVs are poised to gain further traction in the UK over the next five years thanks to £500 million in support that has been set aside by the government.
We enjoyed meeting Greg Barker’s replacement as Amber Rudd officially took her new role in mid July, Amber spoke at a flagship event at SEUK 2014.
As an aside Amber is (ex-wife) second wife of fearsome critic of A.A. Gill . Interestingly Gill it is said by some that his life is something of a contradiction. He is pro-Labour, funny to have a Tory wife, support Labour and order a Lobster at the same cost as a weeks wages.
Back on the event fromr
The government was positive, if they can keep to plan (now), we will see the concept of a transferable FiT and even the a higher shorter ROI to help fund Solar PV for rooftops on businesses across the UK.
Image from source: Wikipedia.
The other news of the show is that the UK will see electric vehicles given a boost of £200 million to kick start as a plug-in grant and if executed correctly EV business will be brisk.
May I wish all the visitors to our stand a huge thank you for visiting our stand and it will be a pleasure to be of service over the next year and beyond.
It was great to chat with our fellow exhibitors and speakers – thank you for making Solar Energy UK 2014 such a memorable event.
That’s all from the show floor but frankly our work is just starting and I look forward to seeing everyone as we tour the country. If we don’t see you soon I look forward to meeting again next year for Ecobuild or the sixth Solar Energy event at the NEC.
We gathered during the tumultuous FiT debarcle to change a perception that Solar Photovoltaic was over.
Well done, you have done it! Solar remains the king of renewable energy, and it’s not going to disappear anytime soon.
You demonstrated what’s possible with the very best installers Solar Photovoltaic involved you continued building a silent power revolution on our rooftops and on the ground.
Commercially you are doing something deeply rewarding by mastering ancient techniques. A man who can catch a ray of sun with a panel on the roof and make hot water or electricity can accomplish anything.
Take heart, Solarpreneurs. The journey was long, but your cause was just.
I look forward to charting your continued success
Founder, Energy Conservation Centre (association for the supply chain of energy efficient and energy generating products)