Energy Bill

Written evidence submitted by William Mealiff (EB 18)

Energy Bill 2015/16

I am a 53 year old citizen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland and for the first time in my life I feel the need to express an opinion directly about a proposed new law – the Energy Bill

There has been much said about the renewables obligation and the proposed early closure of same in April 2016 as opposed to April 2017. Whether a person supports the use of a system which encourages development of renewable energy is neither here or there, what is important is that if such a scheme is in place it is administered fairly in all parts of the UK.

DECC and DETI in Northern Ireland have said that the renewable obligation certificate system must be ended early in Northern Ireland to ensure that Northern Ireland is treated equally as the remainder of the UK. This would be all well and good except for the following reasons:

A) The costs of developing onshore wind in Northern Ireland are much higher than they are in the mainland UK especially in terms of transport and technical skills.

B) Grid connection costs are substantially higher in Northern Ireland than in mainland UK. This is because the grid operator here has a complete monopoly and is therefore largely unanswerable to concerns over cost.

C) The grid in Northern Ireland is horrendously underdeveloped.

D) There is no feed-in-tariff for small scale onshore wind in Northern Ireland.

E) The network operator is unable to even quote for grid connection within a reasonable timeframe. It is expected that it will take nine months to get a quotation for grid connection. This makes it impossible to fulfill the conditions for securing eligibility to the grace period.

Early closure of the renewables obligation certificate system is therefore wholly unfair to those living/developing a small scale onshore wind project in Northern Ireland. Apart from the principle of being unfair the early closure will have serious financial repercussions for those people that have invested heavily in their single wind turbine project. I am not talking here about the big wind development companies but rather about the small scale hill farmer who has put everything he owns into his project.

January 2016

 

Prepared 28th January 2016