Closure of the NIRO

Updated December 2016

In June 2016, the government announced the Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation (NIRO) was closed to new small scale onshore wind.

While Simple Power was disappointed the NIRO subsidy closed a year earlier than expected, due to decisions by the Department of Energy and Climate Change at Westminster, the statement at least provided clarity and certainty.

Simple Power and those involved in the small scale wind industry had invested on the strength of the availability of the NIRO. We now have to move forward with greater confidence with those projects that meet the eligibility criteria.

We are working with key parties, most notably Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE), to ensure ‘approved development’ projects which meet the eligibility criteria are progressed.

Simple Power along with many within the renewable energy sector is continuing to work with government and other key bodies in developing a new renewables support structure, 
post-NIRO, to ensure an even playing field with GB.

At this present time, we would like to take opportunity to provide information following the closure of the NIRO:

What is the current situation with the Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation (NIRO) and small wind?

Now the NIRO has closed, the focus for Simple Power is very much on taking forward those wind energy projects that met the NIRO criteria as of 30th September 2015. For projects that didn’t meet the criteria, their future is uncertain.

What criteria is Simple Power using to assess the wind energy projects that will be progressing?

The key factors are: planning permission, Simple Power having a lease option agreement and NIE-accepted confirmation that they will connect the turbine to the electricity grid by the deadline of March 2017.

Will Simple Power be developing any additional wind turbines in the coming months/years?

Until further clarification of a renewable energy future scheme in Northern Ireland, Simple Power will only be developing those wind turbines that met or meet the criteria outlined above.

What is the timescale for Simple Power in developing additional wind turbines?

Simple Power is currently only working on projects that meet the key criteria for development. Projects not meeting the eligibility criteria will be assessed on a case by case basis with landowners contacted on viable actions going forward.

Where are NIE in this process?

NIE is actively working on ensuring the infrastructure is in place to energise the qualifying wind turbines by March 2017.

I am interested in harvesting wind and income on my land with a Simple Power wind turbine, is this still possible?
Simple Power is not taking on new projects at this stage. However, we will be closely monitoring and assessing opportunities that may arise in the future for renewables in Northern Ireland.

What is the Feed-In Tariff and how might this impact the development of small wind in Northern Ireland?

The Feed-In Tariff (FiT) is the scheme for renewables support in GB. This is currently not applicable in Northern Ireland. However Simple Power hopes to consult with the government on the merits of such a scheme being adopted here.

What is Simple Power doing to help the development of renewable energy in Northern Ireland?

Simple Power is committed to wind energy which it believes has a vital role to play in the country’s energy mix – not only is it helping Northern Ireland to reduce its carbon footprint and dependency on fossil fuels, it also provides us with a secure and dependable energy structure of our own.

I currently have a Simple Power wind turbine on my land, will this be impacted by the closure of the NIRO?

Simple Power wind turbine projects that are already up and running will not be impacted by the closure of the NIRO.

How does Simple Power maintain its wind turbines?

Simple Power has a dedicated Operations & Maintenance (O&M) team that, along with external service providers and sub-contractors, maintains the wind turbines to ensure they are working to optimum effectiveness and efficiency.

I have an option from Simple Power for a potential wind turbine on my land, what is the current status of this?

As things stand, projects that do not meet the eligibility criteria will not be developed. Should a Feed-In Tariff (FiT) type scheme be introduced, those non-qualifying wind turbine projects will be re-assessed to determine their suitability within such a scheme.