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RenewableNI, the voice of Northern Ireland’s renewable electricity industry, has highlighted the importance of small wind and solar projects to consumers and businesses in Northern Ireland.

Small-scale distributed generation (those under 5MW) currently provide 23 per cent of NI’s renewable generation capacity.

In deploying this volume, NI has developed a market leading and innovative Distributed Generation.  Last year, 51 per cent of all electricity in NI came from renewable sources, setting world leading records and displacing almost £500m of gas.

Steven Agnew, Director of RenewableNI said: “It is essential for our economy and our environment that connections for renewable projects of less than 5MW are facilitated.

“While 5MW is enough electricity to supply up to 5,000 homes, the real power of small-scale generation is allowing businesses to use on-site generation to bring down the costs of their energy bills.”

“The RenewableNI report Empowering You revealed the small-scale wind industry in NI already provides 500 jobs. Increasing the installed base of Distributed Generation will provide even more employment as well as innovation opportunities which can be developed and exported internationally.”

The RenewableNI Director made the comments as the Consultation on NIE Networks Providing Distribution Generation Export Offers To Applicants Less Than 5MW closed.

While welcoming everything in the consultation, Steven Agnew warns that barriers still need to be addressed:

“When a grid connection offer is made, the developer has a 120-day time limit in which to secure planning consent.  The NI planning system is not currently processing renewable applications in an efficient manner, and this could put at risk projects that would otherwise progress.  RenewableNI members have experience of timescales of two to three years for consents on <5MW projects.

“RenewableNI is exploring this with NIE Networks, but the ultimate solution to this issue is reduced planning timescales through better resourcing of the system.  RenewableNI is engaging on this with the Department for Infrastructure and other stakeholders, but we need rapid change.”


For media inquiries please contact Judith Rance, Communications and Events Manager, RenewableNI,, 07875-681-794.

Notes to editors

RenewableNI’s response to the Consultation on NIE Networks Providing Distribution Generation Export Offers To Applicants Less Than 5MW is available at

A recording of a free webinar on the Empowering You report is available at The report is also available on the Policy page above.

Read more RenewableNI posts on the themes contained in this article.  If you want to learn more about community benefit, follow the Power Of Renewables tag.