Renewable Heat Incentive Changes Are “Timely Boost” To Green Economy

05-12-13(1)picThe Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) yesterday (4 Dec) published its response to the “Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI): Improving support, increasing uptake”, confirming that support will be available through the RHI for heat use from biogas projects over 200 kWth.

A number of tariffs have been added or increased to better reflect real “world costs” and drive growth in a wider range of technologies.

The non-domestic RHI provides financial support for commercial and industrial companies to generate green heat. The scheme is also launching for households in the spring.

Changes include:

  • inclusion of air source heat pumps, biogas combustion over 200kW, biomass combined heat and power (CHP), deep geothermal and the full range of waste feedstocks.
  • increased tariffs for large biomass, ground source heat pumps and solar thermal.
  • modification of tariff reduction triggers to allow for more biomass deployment in view of the scheme’s overall underspend to date.

Climate change Minister, Greg Barker (pictured), said: “It is vital that we get the level of support right so that the market can invest with confidence, cost reductions can be achieved and the market can grow sustainably.”

Dr Nina Skorupska, REA – “Mixed messages from Government have unnerved many in the renewables sector lately, so today’s RHI announcement gives a timely boost to the green economy”

Welcoming the news, Charlotte Morton, chief executive, ADBA, said: “We are delighted that DECC has finally confirmed support under the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) for heat use from biogas projects with a thermal capacity over 200 kW.

“This is something we have long called for. AD [anaerobic digestion] projects using CHP have the potential to deliver heat to a wide range of potential users, including industrial processes at sites like distilleries and factories, farming processes and community or domestic buildings.

“Biogas is an extremely low-carbon energy source, and this support will help meet the infrastructure costs to make good use of heat. Although we are disappointed that support will not be available to existing plants which only use some of the heat they currently generate, it is good that those which do not make use of heat at all should now be supported.”

The Renewable Energy Association (REA) also welcomed the news, saying that although the scheme has “under-performed” in its first two years, the Government “deserves credit for listening to industry’s concerns and implementing many of the necessary changes.”

REA chief executive, Dr Nina Skorupska, said: “Mixed messages from Government have unnerved many in the renewables sector lately, so today’s RHI announcement gives a timely boost to the green economy. There is still room for improvement, but what the RHI needs most now is to be left alone for a while, so the market can develop without fear of further changes.

“Heating accounts for half the UK’s carbon emissions, so it’s very encouraging to see these technologies receiving the attention they deserve. Add to this the springtime launch of the domestic scheme next year and you’ve got some of the key policy ingredients for sustainable growth and green jobs in renewable heating.”

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