UK renewables industry delighted at increased government support for renewable heating

The UK government has announced improved support for renewable heating through its Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) in a response document published this week.
UK renewables industry delighted at increased government support for renewable heating

The document, published by the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) entitled ‘Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive: Improving support, increasing uptake’, sets out a range of improvements and increased support under the non-domestic RHI. This covers Air to Water Heat Pumps, Energy from Waste and the Non-domestic Scheme Early Tariff Review. It also addresses the outcome of four calls for evidence relating to bio-propane, large biomass, ground source heat pumps and landfill gas.

Details of the domestic RHI have also been published by the department. These relate to budget management policy, the phasing of legacy applications and the treatment of some types of subsidy, as well as confirming the tariff for solar thermal at 19.2 pence per kilowatt hour.

The non-domestic RHI has been open to commercial, industrial, public sector, not for profit and community generators of renewable heat since November 2011. The scheme is designed to bridge the gap between the cost of fossil fuel heat sources and renewable heat alternatives through financial support for owners of participating installations. Following low levels of uptake for some technologies covered by the scheme, the government decided to review the evidence on the assumptions and cost data used to set the level of tariffs when the scheme was first launched. The Energy Minister, Greg Barker MP, said that it is vital to get the amount of support right so that the market can invest with confidence, cost reductions can be achieved and the market can grow sustainably.

To this end, the government will increase the support available for renewable Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plants, large biomass boilers (over 1MW), deep geothermal, ground source heat pumps, solar thermal and biogas combustion >200kWth. It will also introduce new support for air-water heat pumps and commercial and industrial energy from waste, along with improvements to the government’s budget management policy and further policy development on providing increased tariff certainty for large-scale schemes.

The news was welcomed by the Chief Executive of the Renewable Energy Association (REA) Dr Nina Skorupska who said that since heating accounts for half the UK’s carbon emissions it’s very encouraging to see these technologies receiving the attention they deserve.

“We welcome these improvements to the world’s first Renewable Heat Incentive” said Dr Nina Skorupska, REA Chief Executive.  “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.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. With the launch of the domestic scheme in spring 2014, this will establish some of the key policy ingredients for sustainable growth and green jobs in renewable heating.”

For additional information:

Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) RHI Policy Page

Renewable Energy Association (REA)

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