Energy Minister Arlene Foster today launched a consultation on proposed changes to the Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation (NIRO) in 2014.
The amendments relate to ground-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) generating stations above 250kW installed capacity.
Commenting on the consultation Arlene Foster said: “Historically, solar PV generating stations here have tended to be small in nature, however falling costs over the last few years have made Northern Ireland a much more attractive investment location for large scale solar. It is important that we embrace this opportunity, not only to help us meet our Strategic Energy Framework target of 40% of our electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2020 but also to increase our energy mix and improve our security of supply.”
The Minister added: “In recognition of the different operating environment in Northern Ireland compared with the rest of the United Kingdom, the proposed increased support levels are tailored to encourage investment and deployment of ground-mounted solar PV schemes under the NIRO, whilst ensuring value for money for bill payers.
“I would encourage all interested parties to engage with the Department and provide their views on the proposals.”
Changes to the NIRO will be contingent on obtaining State Aid approval from the European Commission and legislative approval of the Assembly.
The consultation period will be open until 24 December 2013, following which DETI will consider comments received and begin development and implementation of a final policy position.
The consultation can be viewed on the DETI website at http://www.energy.detini.gov.uk.