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Northern Ireland to follow rest of UK in closing the renewables obligation to onshore wind

Today the Northern Ireland Executive released a consultation in which it sets out its intention to end the Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation (NIRO) for new onshore wind projects from 1 April 2016. This is to bring NIRO in line with the support being provided to onshore wind projects in England, Wales and Scotland.

The consultation proposes a grace period in limited circumstances. 

Cluster-connection projects will benefit from a grace period if they can demonstrate that they satisfy all of the grace period conditions as of 30 October 2015. Projects not connecting to clusters will need to satisfy the grace period conditions on 30 September 2015.

In order to benefit from a grace period the project will need to demonstrate that, as at the relevant eligibility date, all of the following criteria are satisfied:

  • A relevant planning permission is in place;
  • There is a grid connection offer and acceptance of that offer, or confirmation that no grid connection is required; and
  • A director's certificate has been provided confirming that the developer or proposed operator of the station owns the land on which the land is to be situated or has an option or agreement to lease that land, or is party to an exclusivity agreement in relation to that land.

If a project satisfies the grace period criteria, it will be able to accredit under the NIRO up to 31 March 2017. A further 12 month grace period may be granted if the delay is due to grid or radar delays.

The consultation closes on 14 October 2015.

Contributor: Alexandra Holsgrove Jones

This publication is intended for general guidance and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at September 2015. Specific advice should be sought for specific cases. For more information see our terms & conditions on www.TLTsolicitors.com

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