In Northern Ireland renewable energy projects have been supported by the Northern Ireland Renewable Obligation Certificates scheme. However in GB a feed-in tariff scheme now exists. The Microgeneration Feed-In Tariff in GB applies to small-scale generation of electricity (less than 5 MW capacity), and pays a fixed sum to producers in GB for eligible technologies. Payments through the mechanism replaces the ROCs available through the GB Renewables Obligation for small-scale renewable energy generators. No such feed in tariff (FIT) exists at present in Northern Ireland. The Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment (DETI) has however indicated it intends to introduce a feed in tariff in Northern Ireland. This should be along similar lines to the GB feed in tariff and like GB will apply to installations up to 5MW capacity.
Currently DETI does not have any primary legislative powers for a small-scale FIT mechanism. In GB, the Energy Act 2008 (sections 41-43) provides broad enabling powers for the introduction of FITs for small-scale low-carbon electricity generation, up to a maximum limit of 5MW capacity. Arlene Foster the NI Government Minister for DETI has indicated her intention to introduce the enabling powers for a small scale FIT in the forthcoming Northern Ireland Assembly Energy Bill for Northern Ireland.