NIRO subsidy is closing a year earlier than expected due to decisions by DECC

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.

Source Ulster Farmers Union

Also see FAQ OFGEM


Scotland will meet the equivalent of 100% of Scotland’s own electricity demand from renewable resources by 2020.

UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey told the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee fuel bills would rise substantially in Scotland if it became independent.

Mr Davey was giving evidence to the committee as it conducted the final session on its inquiry into the Scottish government’s renewable energy targets, on 20 June 2012.

The main target is that Scotland will meet the equivalent of 100% of Scotland’s own electricity demand from renewable resources by 2020.

He said, as a result of an independent Scotland, “there is no doubt there would be increases in energy bills in Scotland, not in pence and pounds but in tens of pounds.”

Consumers across the UK currently subsidise renewable energy through the UK government, said Mr Davey.

The UK energy secretary also said that climate change was “too dangerous” for any government to hitch their wagon to only renewable technology.

Mr Davey said it was important to have a framework to bring forward the most efficient low carbon technologies and there should be a mix of technologies including nuclear.

He said the reforms being made in the forthcoming UK Energy bill will allow the markets to decide which are the best low carbon technologies.

The energy secretary said the reforms “are really good for renewables”.

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing MSP then gave evidence to the committee, which will be available to view below: