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Incendiary Developments: Northern Ireland’s Renewable Heat Incentive, and the Collapse of the Devolved Government

Muinzer T (2017) Incendiary Developments: Northern Ireland’s Renewable Heat Incentive, and the Collapse of the Devolved Government, elaw Newsletter, 5.2017, 99, pp. 18-21.

At a glance

  • A complex heating scandal has recently resulted in the collapse of Northern Ireland's devolved government. 
  • The heating scheme at issue is the Renewable Heat Incentive, which is intended to stimulate the increased derivation of heat from renewable sources. 
  • Northern Ireland retains a greater degree of devolved energy competence than the UK's other subnational jurisdictions. An equivalent Renewable Heat Incentive scheme has been rolled out across Great Britain, but officials in the Northern Ireland Executive have used their powers to adjust the scheme's financial mechanisms in a detrimental way. 
  • The cost to the Northern Irish taxpayer of the consequent design faults is estimated at £490m. 
  • These flaws came to light in conjunction with allegations of extreme mismanagement, faulty governance and fraud. A variety of allegations and revelations ran to the heart of the devolved administration, and the Northern Irish government presently collapsed under these pressures. 
This article considers the development and application of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme in Northern Ireland, and addresses the major scandal that arose as a consequence of the scheme's design and implementation, ultimately resulting In the collapse of the Northern Irish government and significantly threatening the future of devolution in the jurisdiction.

Northern Ireland; renewable energy; renewable heat incentive; devolution

AuthorsMuinzer Thomas
Publication date05/2017
Date accepted by journal01/05/2017
PublisherUK Environmental Law Association
Place of publicationDorking

Elaw Newsletter: Volume 99

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