Renewable energy is energy generated from natural sources like the sun, wind or flowing water and is naturally replenished as it is used. Micro renewable generation is classed as 3.68kW or less single phase or up to 11.04kW three phase.
Small scale renewable generation is classed as greater than 3.68kW and up to 20kW single phase and greater than 11.04kW and up to 2MW three phase. Typically the majority of applications are up to 50kW for Solar PV, up to 250kW for wind generation and up to 500kW for anaerobic digestion due to Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) banding levels [link opens in a new window].
Large scale generation is generally classed as generation greater than 2MW.
In general terms, the amount of electricity that can be exported is determined by the electricity infrastructure in your area, the distance the generating site is from the NIE Networks' primary substation and the amount of generation already committed to the circuit.
There are three types of application:
Find out what type of application applies to your generator.
For a microgenerator the limits are 3.68kW single phase and 11.04kW three phase. The equipment must comply with the requirements of the G83 recommendations. If your generation is greater than these limits please use the G59 application process.
Find out which application applies to your generator.
As of end March 2013, around 641MW of Large Scale Generation, 84MW of Small Scale Generation and 48MW of Microgeneration has already been connected. It is expected that around 1600MW is required to meet DETI’s 40% renewables targets by 2020.
For more information on connected generation quantities click here
Once we receive an application for a renewable connection, a connection offer is issued within 90 days, provided all the necessary information has been received. The applicant has a further 90 days to accept the connection offer.
We will offer a feasibility study as an alternative to the full application process. Applicants may consider undertaking a feasibility study prior to submitting an application to the planning department for the renewable site, however full planning permission is no longer required to submit a generation connection application .
Your application must contain the following documents:
Please note that if you have an inverter connected generator then you will also need to include a copy of the harmonics report up to the 50th harmonic. Detailed requirements will be set out in your application form.
A number of locations are affected by network saturation across Northern Ireland. The extent of the impact depends on the number of existing generators connected and the remaining capacity of the network at that location. NIE Networks' heat map gives indicative information on these problem areas.
We will continue to seek approvals where appropriate for installation of equipment to facilitate reverse power at network substations which are already heavily loaded with generation. These installations will provide further limited capacity for generation in these areas.
Some areas require substantial network reinforcement to facilitate additional generation. Options for development of these projects are being considered by the relevant authorities.
We are also exploring new Active Network Management solutions and how these could potentially increase the ability to connect to the network and continues to update stakeholders on progress.
Provided all the information received is in order, we will register your application and will send a letter advising you of your unique job reference number. We will place your application in our generation queue where we assess each application in turn to determine the extent of work required to facilitate your connection.
Once the network analysis is complete, we will contact the nominated person specified in your application to arrange a site visit and subsequently issue your connection offer.
We are currently experiencing a high volume of applications for connection of generation. We will process all applications and provide a quote, which will outline the work required to connect you, within 90 days of receiving your application and all supporting documentation.
The cost will reflect the work we have to carry out to meet your requirements. We have to take a number of factors into account including the generation export capacity requested, the position of the generator on our network and whether or not we have to reinforce our network to provide your connection.
All works and costs are specific to your site requirements. Our charging methodology will give details of how this will affect your application.
If you don't accept our quotation within the 90 day acceptance period, the quotation is no longer valid and will drop out of the generation connection queue. The 90 day acceptance period is strictly enforced to ensure fairness to all applicants.
If you don't accept our quotation and need to apply again, the connection costs may change. Costs may have altered due to increases in material and labour costs since your original application or as a result of other connections or offers that may have been made onto our network during this time, there may no longer be sufficient capacity available to supply your development from our existing network.
This could have a significant effect on the scope and cost of the works required to connect your development. You should be aware of this potential risk when timing your application and quote acceptance.
Most small scale generation will require a dedicated transformer. The size of transformer needed is dependent on the capacity (kW) and type of the generator to be installed. Typically:
No, we are obliged to ensure fairness to all applicants. We provide connection offers on a 'first come, first served' basis and operate a strict queuing process to achieve this.
Yes, Planning Permission is no longer a pre-requisite to apply for a grid connection (as of 31st July 2015).
The stage 1 application process is for single G83 installations. The vast majority of microgeneration is installed at single sites and the installer should complete a G83 stage 1 commissioning pack.
The Stage 2 application process covers the connection of multiple SSEGs at domestic or business premises (other than within a single Customer’s Installation) in a ‘Close Geographic Region’, under a planned programme of work. In the case of projects where the proposal is to install multiple SSEGs in a number of Customers Installations in a ‘Close Geographic Region’, the Installer shall discuss the installation project with NIE Networks at the earliest opportunity. NIE Networks will need to assess the impact that these connections may have on the network and specify conditions for connection.
Using the “Fit and Inform” principles of Engineering Recommendation G83/1, the installer should fit and commission the generator and register the connection online to inform us that this has been done.
The installer should also submit their application pack and relevant documentation within 30 days for approval. We will check this information and will arrange for the installation of an import/export electricity meter.
Close geographic region/area is the area within which the premises where more than one SSEG installation planned by the same organisation (i.e. installer) are within 500m of each other.
As is the case at present, all proposed generation connections, which have an installed capacity above the G83 limit, must apply for a Connection Offer under the more complex G59 connection application process. The G59 application and quotation process includes a full technical assessment and site visit to determine the connection arrangement and any possible impact the proposed generation may have on the electricity network. Any network upgrade work required as a result of the generation installation would be chargeable to the applicant and will be detailed in our Connection Offer. Details of the G59 Connection process can be found here.
The 16 amps per phase threshold equates to 3.68kW per phase. The new G83 limit will be based on the certified continuous steady state operating rating of the inverter, subject to a maximum installed generation capacity of 4kW single phase and 12kW three phase. For example, a standard 3.98kWp solar PV installation using a certified 3.68kW rated inverter would be acceptable.
We are not proposing any change at this time, but is currently carrying out a gap analysis between G83/1 and G83/2.
We will write to all affected customers, i.e. those who have received or were about to receive a conditional offer, to inform them that their offer will either be withdrawn or will not be issued. Options will be detailed in this letter and the customer must then advise us how they wish to proceed.
Where conditional offers have been withdrawn by us and the applicant wants to keep their application live, we will retain the position of the relevant applicants in the “connection queue”. When the review of the Statement of Charges is complete, including any alternative connection arrangement, the applicant will not have to re-apply for a connection offer and one will be issued automatically on the basis of the initial application.
Where offers have yet to be made in locations where there is a lack of 33,000 volt capacity, we will write to applicants advising it is unable to issue a connection offer and will detail the options available.
We will provide details of the cancellation process in your letter. If you cancel the connection application we will make a refund. The amount refunded will depend on the stage of the application in the process.