Biomass specialist re:heat has joined forces with two law firms and the Energy Saving Trust to host a series of seminars on the UK government’s new Heat Network Regulations.
Leading law firms Ward Hadaway and Harper Macleod LLP will join with re:heat and the EST to host the seminars throughout the North and Scotland, aimed at operators and owners of biomass district heating schemes.
“The new Heat Network Regulations, which come into full force from December 2016, have significant implications for owners and operators of district heating schemes of all sizes” said Neil Harrison, re:heat director and vice chair of the Wood Heat Association. “The uptake of district heating using biomass boilers has been significant under the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), with many hundreds of new schemes installed across the UK since the scheme was introduced in 2011. Many installers and scheme owners have implemented biomass district heating projects without fully understanding the new legislative environment in which they will operate. There is also mounting concern and evidence that many schemes are not operating as efficiently as they could.”
Mr Harrison added that this is why re:heat has developed its technical seminar series in partnership with two leading law firms in Scotland and the North of England. The company’s technical seminar series aims to bring owners and operators up to speed to prevent them falling foul of the new legislation. The new regulations include, for example, the requirement that all heat customers must have a heat meter fitted. Owners must meet other obligations or face enforcement action.
The seminar series is part of re:heat’s ongoing efforts to increase quality standards in the biomass sector and have been developed for the benefit of biomass district heating scheme owners. The company wants to provide expert guidance to help operators navigate regulation changes, maximising the operating efficiency of underperforming systems and increasing their RHI income.
The seminars are intended for anyone who owns or is developing a biomass district heating scheme or who provides heat to a number of end users in a property - particularly in the rural, forestry or agricultural sectors. Housing associations and local authorities will also benefit.
Experts from North law firm Ward Hadaway’s Company and Commercial Team and Scottish law firm Harper Macleod LLP will advise attendees on how to comply with the new regime. Scottish Land & Estates, the new voice of land-based businesses in rural Scotland will also be in attendance.
The Heat Network Regulations impose a series of important obligations on anyone who provides a communal heating or cooling system to customers or tenants. As such, they apply to a wide range of organisations from energy providers to housing associations and local authorities. However, according to Steve Roper at Ward Hadaway, most providers are unaware of the burdens imposed by these regulations, and many may well be in breach as a result. The potential penalties from not complying with the new regime are serious, so this is something which people cannot afford to ignore.
As well as getting the legal low-down, attendees will also hear from re:heat engineering experts on how to optimise district heating scheme outputs through improved controls, metering and measuring to increase RHI income and reduce wood fuel costs.
They will also receive an update on national biomass policy, the future of the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme and the biomass sector in general. The seminars also provide an opportunity for guests to network with other owners of biomass district heating schemes in their area.