Call for fairness on windfarms

Financial climate set to change for new onshore wind farm proposals. (Editorial Image).
Financial climate set to change for new onshore wind farm proposals. (Editorial Image).

A Council response to consultation on plans to stop wind station subsidies has called for “administrative fairness” for approved applications.

Mid & East Antrim’s Community Planning Committee approved the response to consultation on the closure of the NI Renewables Obligation (NIRO) to new onshore wind farm from April next year. when it was presented to them on last Tuesday, October 13, the day before DETI consultation on the issue was due to close.

Northern Ireland’s main subsidy mechanism for renewable energy generation projects, NIRO is set to be closed to new onshore wind from next April, keeping it in line with changes to subsidies across the UK which include ‘grace periods’ for projects that meet certain eligibility criteria, ie. planning consent, a grid connection offer and acceptance of offer, as well as evidence of land rights.

Within the Mid and East Antrim borough, 39 applications for single turbines and one for seven turbines are set to miss the ‘early closure’ grace period.

The Committee agreed on the proposal of Councillor Paul Sinclair to approve the civic response to the fortnight-long consultation on the issue which read: “Due to the short notice and tight consultation period, Mid & East Antrim Borough Council suggest that in the interests of adminstrative fairness, the early closure grace period should apply to all those planning applications approved for wind projects which were submitted on or before September 30, 2015.”