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RHI for business ready to go, but domestic market may have to wait

Green energy news - by GreenWise staff
25th November 2011
The £860 million Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) will open for applications from businesses on Monday, the Government has confirmed, but the domestic market may have to wait longer than another year to benefit from the scheme.
Following delays to the RHI for the non-domestic sector, Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said today the renewable heat subsidy scheme was now ready to go for businesses and communities across Britain and would launch on Monday November 28.

Possible delay of RHI domestic
However, it is now unclear whether the RHI for the domestic market will launch in autumn 2012 as had previously been expected. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) had previously said the scheme would launch for households in October 2012 to coincide with the Green Deal, the Government’s flagship energy efficiency policy for homes and businesses. But a spokesperson for DECC said a date for its domestic launch would not now be confirmed until the new year, saying only that "phase one was later than expected". 

"Greg Barker said in an RHI debate that we are going to be in a position to confirm the exact timing of RHI domestic early in the new year," said the spokesperson. 

The RHI is a scheme to increase investment in renewable heat technologies by rewarding households and businesses that install them through a system of tariffs. It will support renewable heat technologies such as biomass, solar thermal and heat pumps. The Government says it will help cut carbon emissions and create up to 500,000 jobs by the end of the decade. 

"The RHI will usher in a new era in clean green heat technology. It’s a world first and has the potential to put the UK at the forefront of a vibrant new green technology sector," Barker said today. 

"Renewable heat will be a big win for our economy – it will support thousands of green jobs, reduce our dependency on imported fossil fuels, reduce our carbon emissions and help us meet our renewable target."

Heating is responsible for 46 per cent of UK carbon emissions and through the RHI the Government aims to cut this by 10 per cent by 2020. 

Phase one of RHI
Phase one of the reward scheme will provide funding towards those in the non-domestic sector who install, or have installed since July 15 2009, renewable heat technologies and fuel uses including solid and gaseous biomass, solar thermal, ground and water source heat-pumps, on-site biogas, deep geothermal, energy from waste and injection of biomethane into the grid.

Up to 123,000 industrial, commercial and public sector renewable heat installations could benefit from the RHI over the next decade, according to the Government.

Buildings will have meters installed to measure the amount of heat generated, and the owner will be paid for the amount of usable heat generated every quarter over 20 years. Recipients will be paid up to 7.9 pence per kilowatt hour (kWh) for biomass boilers, 8.5 pence per kWh for solar thermal and up to 4.5 pence per kWh for heat pumps. Once in the scheme, the level of support an installation will receive is fixed, although it will be adjusted annually with inflation.

Scheme delayed
The start of the scheme was delayed after the European Commission raised concerns the tariff for large-scale biomass had been set too high. To meet State Aid approval, DECC said it had to revise regulations, cutting the tariff for large-scale biomass by more than 60 per cent. The revised regulations were approved by Parliament this week. 

Organisations will now be able to apply to Ofgem for support under the RHI from Monday, DECC said. 

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RHI for business ready to go, but domestic market may have to wait
Businesses will be able to apply for the Renewable Heat Incentive from November 28 (© Patrick Allen | Dreamstime.com)
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