Business

Small-scale renewables subsidies 'will end in June'

Subsidies for small-scale renewables schemes in the north will continue to June 30

A GOVERNMENT scheme for subsidising renewable energy projects for new small-scale onshore wind farms is likely to be extended to June 30.

Yesterday the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment launched a consultation on proposals for closure of the Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation (NIRO) for small schemes.

A scheme for larger projects is closing next week, but incentives continue for the time being for wind farms up to five megawatts.

The consultation proposes options for closure of the NIRO to small scale projects set within the context of the Department of Energy and Climate Change's (DECC) intention to protect GB consumers if Northern Ireland does not close the NIRO on equivalent terms to Britain.

The consultation closes for responses at 5pm on May 9 (the relevant documents can be viewed at www.detini.gov.uk/consultations).

DECC has introduced legislation to protect GB consumers if Northern Ireland adopts a different policy position. This would arise should Northern Ireland continue to incentivise ineligible onshore wind projects beyond March 31.

The consultation document suggests three option to close the small scheme - June 30, September 30 or March 31 next year.

But the minded position is to go with June 30, because beyond that developers risk having their claims from later projects rejected.

A cut in central government funding for renewable energy provision and a huge spike in demand for the scheme late last year prompted the move to shut it down ahead of schedule.

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