UFU lobbies DETI Minister over wind turbines

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The UFU has urged the DETI minister, Jonathan Bell, to postpone plans to end aid for small scale wind turbines – and has warned that his decision could face a legal challenge.

At issue are plans to close the Northern Ireland ROCs (Renewable Obligation Certificates) support mechanism for small scale wind turbines.

UFU president Ian Marshall said the UFU remains ‘hugely disappointed’ and ‘dismayed’ about how this has been handled.

Despite promising in June and July this year to maintain support for new farm-based small scale wind projects (less than 250kW) until 2017, in late September the minister announced the immediate closure of the scheme to new projects, unless they meet strict eligibility criteria.

“This has left many farmers and small businesses in a terrible situation where they have invested thousands of pounds with the legitimate expectation of delivering projects before March 2017,” said Mr Marshall.

As energy is a devolved matter at Stormont, DETI has the power to stick by its commitments and maintain the support mechanism until 2017.

“If it fails to provide a solution, the only option then available would be legal action against DETI,” said Mr Marshall.