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The Renewables Obligation (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2011

Draft Legislation:

This is a draft item of legislation. This draft has since been made as a Northern Ireland Statutory Rule: The Renewables Obligation (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2011 No. 169

EXPLANATORY NOTE

(This note is not part of the Order)

This Order amends the Energy (Northern Ireland) Order 2003 and the Renewables Obligation Order (Northern Ireland) 2009 (“the 2009 Order”) and makes transitional provision.

The 2009 Order imposes an obligation (“the renewables obligation”) on all electricity suppliers, licensed under the Electricity Order (Northern Ireland) 1992 (“the Electricity Order”) who supply electricity in Northern Ireland. Suppliers must produce, by a specified day, a certain number of renewables obligation certificates in respect of each megawatt hour of electricity that each supplies to customers in Northern Ireland during a specified period known as an obligation period. The Order provides for the renewables obligation to be administered by the Northern Ireland Authority for Utility Regulation (“the Authority”) who are responsible for issuing renewables obligation certificates (NIROCs) to renewable electricity generators on their renewable output.

Articles 2 to 6, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 17 implement, in relation to the renewables obligation, Articles 17 to 19 of Directive 2009/28/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources and amending and subsequently repealing Directives 2001/77/EC and 2003/30/EC (“the Renewables Directive”). All other Articles of this Order do not implement European Union obligations.

Article 2 amends the definition of “fossil fuel” in Article 55F of the Electricity (Northern Ireland) Order 2003, to remove bioliquids produced directly or indirectly from coal, lignite, natural gas, crude liquid petroleum or petroleum products from the scope of the definition of fossil fuel. In consequence, bioliquids produced directly or indirectly from those products will fall within the definition of renewable sources set out in that section. Article 2 also inserts into that section a definition of “bioliquid”.

Article 3(2) inserts new definitions into Article 2 of the 2009 Order, including a definition for fossil derived bioliquid (which is a sub-category of all bioliquids). Article 3(3) substitutes the definition of “total installed capacity”.

Article 3(4) amends Article 2(2) of the 2009 Order to set out the meaning of references to the energy content of a fossil derived bioliquid in any month during which the fossil fuel proportion of that fossil derived bioliquid varies. Article 3(5) amends Article 2(4) of the 2009 Order to set out how the provisions of the 2009 Order apply if fossil derived bioliquid is mixed with other categories of fuel (such as biomass which is not a bioliquid).

Articles 4 and 5 amend the provisions in Articles 3 and 4 of the 2009 Order for determining the proportion of waste and of biomass which is composed of fossil fuel.

Article 6 inserts a new Article 4A into the 2009 Order. The new Article 4A sets out how to determine the proportion of a fossil derived bioliquid which is to be treated as being composed of fossil fuel. NIROCs will not be issued in respect of the generation of electricity attributed to the proportion of the fossil derived bioliquid which is treated as being composed of fossil fuel (Part 5 of the 2009 Order).

Article 7 makes a correction to Article 18A of the 2009 Order.

Article 8 amends Article 22 of the 2009 Order to widen the exceptions to the circumstances in which no NIROCs are to be issued.

Articles 9 and 15 insert new Articles 22A and 22B and new Schedules A1 and A2 into the 2009 Order. The new Articles 22A and 22B set out additional circumstances in which NIROCs are not to be issued in respect of electricity generated from bioliquid. The new Article 22A includes a requirement that no NIROCs are to be issued in respect of any electricity generated using bioliquid that does not meet the greenhouse gas emission criteria (which are set out in the new Schedule A1) and the land criteria (which are set out in the new Schedule A2).

Articles 10 and 11 amend Articles 27 and 29 of the 2009 Order and insert new Articles 27A, 27B, 27C, 27D, 29A and 29B. The amendments and new Articles permit small anaerobic digestion stations to benefit from enhanced levels of support’, provide for certain existing small scale generators to benefit from enhanced levels of support in relation to any additional capacity installed after 31 March 2010 up to certain thresholds and place additional conditions on certain generating stations for accreditation purposes.

Articles 12 and 17 amend Article 46 of the 2009 Order and insert new Schedules 3A and 3B. Article 46 of the 2009 Order requires certain information to be provided to the Authority where electricity is generated from biomass. The amendments made by Article 12 extend these information requirements to fossil derived bioliquids, but remove them from biomass that is, or is derived from, waste. The amendments also impose new information requirements where electricity is generated from biomass (other than bioliquid), including information requirements relating to the greenhouse gas emissions from the use of the biomass to generate electricity (which is to be calculated in accordance with the new Schedules 3A or 3B as applicable).

Article 13 inserts a new Article 46A into the 2009 Order, requiring operators of generating stations claiming NIROCs for the generation of electricity from bioliquid to provide a bioliquid sustainability audit report and to make related provision.

Article 14 amends Article 49 of the 2009 Order, to require the Authority to provide certain information to the Department.

Article 16 makes a correction to Schedule 2.

Article 18 makes transitional provision in respect of the obligation period ending on 31st March 2011.

The European Commission has adopted guidelines (OJ L 151, 17.6.2010, p.19) to serve as the basis for the calculation of land carbon stocks as required by paragraph 10 of Part C of Annex 5 to the Renewables Directive.

A transposition note is annexed to the explanatory memorandum which is available alongside the Order on the legislation website of The National Archive (www.legislation.gov.uk).

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