United Kingdom

Trade associations welcome renewable heat incentive consultations

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) consultations launched by the UK’s Energy, Minister Greg Barker, last week have been described as “a major step forward” for the Department of Energy and Climate Change's Renewable Heat Incentive by the Renewable Energy Association. Meanwhile, the Solar Trade Association says it feels “optimistic about finding constructive solutions with DECC going forwards”.
Trade associations welcome renewable heat incentive consultations

The RHI was secured after successful campaigning by the two trade associations for action on renewable heat. Heat is the biggest use of energy in the UK, supplied predominantly by fossil gas. Heat accounts for 47% of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions. Renewables currently comprise just over 1% of total heat production in the UK, almost the lowest figure in Europe.

Non-domestic biomass boilers, ground-source heat pumps, biogas combustion, biomethane injection and solar thermal are already supported by the RHI. The new proposals offer further support to domestic renewable heat, air-source heat pumps, biogas over 200kW, bioliquids, a wider range of wastes, deep geothermal heat, combined heat and power, and a greater range of industrial applications of heat.

Rural communities especially stand to benefit from the RHI as it will widen the range of affordable heating options for homes not on the gas grid, where fuel poverty is concentrated. Business and industrial heat users will be able to protect themselves against rising energy costs and at the same time reduce their carbon footprint. The RHI is also a major industrial policy that will result in tens of thousands of new green jobs, in equipment installation and fuel supply, including in the forestry and waste management industries.

“We are delighted that the Government has published these proposals on time and we are looking forward to engaging further with DECC on the details to make the RHI work,” said the Renewable Energy Association last week.

“Renewable heat has been the sleeping giant of UK renewable energy policy. Renewable heat technologies are often very cost-effective, and have a major role to play in reducing our carbon emissions, improving our energy security, and revitalising our economy,” said

Renewable Energy Association’s Head of Policy, Paul Thompson, last week. “We are delighted that the Government has published these proposals on time and we are looking forward to engaging further with DECC on the details to make the RHI work.”

His views were echoed by Paul Barwell, CEO of the Solar Trade Association, who said: “The domestic RHI consultation offers reassurance that DECC has listened to what we have to say about the massive potential of solar heating to reduce bills and meet the UK’s environmental targets. We feel optimistic about finding constructive solutions with DECC going forwards.

The consultation proposes a tariff of 17.3p/kWh for solar thermal installations, payable over 7 years. However, the consultation makes clear it remains open to evidence on costs and to exploring alternative means of support.

“The tariff level proposed for solar thermal will concern many of our members, but following sustained lobbying from the STA, the door has been left open for flexibility on this support level. The STA will continue to press DECC to reflect the unique benefits of solar thermal in the final support level decision,” explains Barwell, whose organisation represents companies working in solar thermal and solar power.

The Renewable Energy Association will be hosting an event to discuss the latest RHI consultations in London on 22 October 2012.

[Inset: Hoval Ltd, a leading manufacturer of commercial boilers and pressure vessels, welcomes Greg Barker its manufacturing facility in Lincoln in 2011]

For additional information:

Solar Trade Association

Renewable Energy Association

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