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Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation

NIRO Small Scale Banding Review Consultation - Government Response

In July 2014, DETI published a consultation paper setting out proposed ROC banding levels for onshore wind, hydro and anaerobic digestion with a maximum installed capacity up to 5 Megawatts (MW) and solar photovoltaic (PV) up to 250 Kilowatts (kW). The consultation closed on 25 September 2014 and the Department's response was published on 29 January 2015.

The response confirms that existing ROC levels for small scale onshore wind, anaerobic digestion and hydro technologies will remain unchanged until the closure of the Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation (NIRO) to new applicants from 1 April 2017. It also confirms that Solar PV up to 50kW will receive 3 ROCs until October 2016 when there will be a reduction to 2 ROCs.  Solar PV above 50kW up to 250kW will continue to receive 2 ROCs.  

On 18 December 2014, DETI confirmed that existing ROC banding levels would be retained until 1 October 2015 and not 1 April 2015 as previously intended.

The proposed changes will be adopted in The Renewables Obligation (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2015 which is intended to come into operation (subject to Assembly approval) later this year.

A copy of the Government Response can viewed by clicking the link below:

Small Scale Banding Review Consultation - Government Response

NIRO Small Scale Banding Review Consultation 2015

In June 2014, DETI consulted on proposed changes to NIROC banding levels for small scale (up to 250kW) solar PV generating stations from 1 April 2015. The consultation proposed a reduction from 4 NIROCs to 1.6 NIROCs for solar PV generating stations up to 50kW installed capacity and from 2 NIROCs to 1.6 NIROCs for generating stations above 50kW and up to 250kW installed capacity. The consultation also proposed a 6 month grace period for those generating stations which expected to commission and accredit under the Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation (NIRO) before 1 April 2015 but, for reasons outside their control, experienced a delay in connecting to the grid.

Latest position

The Department received over 330 responses to the consultation and has been working through those responses. This work is ongoing and a consultation response is expected to be issued in early 2015 which will confirm any changes to NIROC levels.

However, in recognition of the impact that any delay on confirming revised NIROC levels might have on installers and prospective generators, the Minister has decided that there will be no change to existing NIROC levels before 1 October 2015. This means that eligible solar PV generating stations up to 50kW will realise 4 NIROCs/MWh and solar PV generating stations above 50kW and up to 250kW will realise 2 NIROCs/MWh provided they are commissioned and make an accreditation application to Ofgem under the NIRO before 1 October 2015.

This six month extension to existing NIROC levels applies to all generators who commission and accredit under the NIRO before 1 October 2015. There will be no grace period beyond 1 October 2015 for generators who fail to commission and accredit under the NIRO before this date.

The consultation document can be obtained by clicking on the link below:

NIRO Small Scale Banding Review Consultation 2015 (PDF 417 KB)

The review was undertaken on behalf of DETI by Cambridge Economic Policy Associates (CEPA). The CEPA report can be accessed by clicking on the link below:

CEPA Small Scale NIRO Banding - Jan 2014 (PDF 1.7 MB)

Proposed changes to the Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation (NIRO) - Biomass Sustainability

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment has launched a statutory consultation on proposed changes to the NIRO. This consultation sets out proposed technical adjustments to sustainability and reporting provisions for biomass.  It is proposed that the changes will be made through the Renewables Obligation Order (Northern Ireland) 2015.

All responses to this consultation should be submitted by 11 November 2014.

The consultation document can be obtained by clicking on the link below:

Consultation on adjustments to sustainability and reporting provisions for biomass (PDF 286 KB)

The Renewables Obligation (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2014

The Renewables Obligation (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2014 was approved by the Northern Ireland Assembly on 19 May 2014.  The Order will come into operation on 1 June 2014.

The Order can be viewed via the attached link:

NIRO Banding Review - Consultation Response

In October 2013, DETI published a consultation paper setting out proposed ROC banding levels for ground mounted solar PV generating stations above 250kW from 1 April 2014. The consultation closed on 24 December 2013 and the Department's response was published on 30 January 2014.

The proposed changes will be adopted in The Renewables Obligation (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2014 which is intended to come into operation (subject to Assembly approval and EU State Aid clearance) on 1 April 2014.

Proposed changes to the Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation (NIRO)

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment has launched a statutory consultation on proposed changes to the Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation (NIRO). The proposed changes relate specifically to ROC banding levels for ground-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) generating stations with installed capacity above 250kW and will come into operation on 1 April 2014.

All responses to this consultation should be submitted by 24 December 2013.

Supplementary Consultation on Biomass Sustainability - Consultation Response

In October 2012, DETI published a consultation paper setting out proposed ROC levels for large scale solar PV and biomass affordability and sustainability for the period 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2017. We subsequently published the response on large scale solar PV and biomass affordability on 24 January 2013. Part A of the consultation covered proposed improvements to the sustainability criteria mainly addressing the use of solid biomass and biogas feedstock.

The Department published its response to Part A: Biomass Sustainability on 16 October 2013.

The proposed changes will be adopted in a consolidated Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation Order 2014 which is intended to come into operation (subject to Assembly approval and State aid clearance) on 1 April 2014.

Renewables Obligation - Confirmation of Obligation Level for Northern Ireland Suppliers

The Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation, known as the NIRO, is DETI’s main means of increasing renewable electricity generation in Northern Ireland. The NIRO works in tandem with Renewables Obligations covering the rest of the UK. It obliges electricity suppliers to produce a certain number of certificates - known as ROCs - as a proportion of the amount of electricity which they supply to their customers in Northern Ireland.

Alternatively, instead of producing these certificates, suppliers may choose to make a payment to Ofgem (the body which administers the NIRO on behalf of DETI).

Article 12(4) of the Renewables Obligation Order (Northern Ireland) 2009 requires the Department to publish the level of a forthcoming Obligation period six months in advance of its commencing. As each new Obligation period runs from 1st April, this means that the announcement in question must be made by the preceding 1st October.

Full details of how the Obligation level is calculated are available on the DECC Website

Obligation Level for 2015/16

The obligation level for suppliers to customers in Northern Ireland for the period running from 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016 is 0.119 ROCs per MWh (megawatt hour).

The Obligation level for England, Wales and Scotland has been set at 0.290 ROCs/MWh for the same period.

Obligation Level for 2014/15

The obligation level for suppliers to customers in Northern Ireland for the period running from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015 is 0.107 ROCs per MWh (megawatt hour).

The Obligation level for England, Wales and Scotland has been set at 0.244 ROCs/MWh for the same period.

Obligation Level for 2013/14

The Obligation level for suppliers to customers in Northern Ireland for the period running from 1st April 2013 to 31st March 2014 will be 0.097 ROCs per MWh (megawatt hour).

The Obligation level for England, Wales and Scotland has been set at 0.206 ROCs/MWh for the same period.

Further information

For further information on the Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation contact:

Michael Harris,
Renewable Electricity;
DETI
Tel: (028) 9052 9269;
E-Mail: michael.harris@detini.gov.uk

Information on the accreditation process for receiving ROCs can be found on the Ofgem website where you will also find information on the historical performance of ROCs.

Northen Ireland Renewables Obligation

The NIRO is the main mechanism for encouraging renewable electricity generation in Northern Ireland.

The Renewables Obligation (Amendment No. 2) Order (Northern Ireland) 2013 was approved in the Northern Ireland Assembly on 24 June 2013. The Order will come into operation on 1 July 2013.

The Renewables Obligation (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2013 was approved in the Northern Ireland Assembly on 22 April 2013. The Order will come into operation on 1 May 2013.

Supplementary consultation on solar PV support, biomass affordability and retaining the minimum calorific value in the NIRO - Consultation Response

The Departments response to the supplementary consultation on proposed changes to the NIRO on solar PV support, biomass affordability and retaining minimum calorific value from 1 April 2013 was published on 24 January 2013

Retaining a Minimum Gross Calorific Value Requirement in the Renewables Obligation

The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is seeking views on the retention of a minimum gross calorific value requirement in the Renewables Obligation for gaseous fuel produced by means of gasification or pyrolysis.

A letter from DECC Minister, John Hayes can be viewed on the DECC website using the following link: Retention of Minimum Gross Calorific Value Requirement. A copy of the letter can also be viewed below:

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment does not intend to issue a separate request but would invite any NI related responses to be forwarded to NIRO2012@detini.gov.uk by 30 November 2012.

If you wish to make comments directly to DECC please forward responses to robr@decc.gsi.gov.uk by 30 November 2012.

(If you do intend to comment directly to DECC, please copy DETI into your response)

Proposed changes to the Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation (NIRO) – Supplementary Consultation on Large Scale Solar PV and Biomass Sustainability

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment has launched a statutory consultation on further proposed changes to the Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation (NIRO). This is supplementary to the recent consultation and subsequent government response published in August 2012 on changes to NIRO in 2013. This consultation relates to proposed changes to banding levels for large scale solar PV, biomass sustainability and value for money and grace periods for CHP projects. The proposals to amend ROC banding levels will come into operation on 1 April 2013.

Responses to the large-scale solar PV consultation, Part B of the biomass consultation and proposed grace period for CHP projects should be submitted by 4 December 2012.

Responses to Part A of the biomass consultation should be submitted by 15 January 2013.

The consultation document can be obtained by clicking on the link below:

This consultation is closely linked to the consultations on changes to the Renewables Obligation being undertaken by the Department of Energy and Climate Change. The RO consultation documents can be accessed at:

NIRO Banding Review - Consultation Response

The Department's response to the consultation on the Renewables Obligation Banding Levels from 1 April 2013 was published on 2 August 2012.

Subject to Assembly and EU State Aid approval, the regulations setting the new bands in law will take effect on 1 April 2013

The 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.

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.

NIRO – An outline of its operation

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:

NIRO Banding Table

Following recent consultation on changes to the NIRO, the following table sets out current ROC banding levels and those confirmed from 1 June 2014.

NIRO legislation

The NIRO was introduced on 1 April 2005 and has been the subject of several amendments, the most significant of which was the introduction of ROC banding levels for different technologies in 2009.  The current legislation governing the NIRO is the Renewables Obligation Order (Northern Ireland) 2011.