UK renewable energy sector gives thumbs up to Renewable Heat Incentive reform

By Bioenergy Insight.

The UK renewable energy industry has reacted positively to the government’s renewable heat incentive (RHI) scheme plans.

Changes to the scheme were proposed in a public consultation in March. At that time, the renewable heat industry was deeply concerned that the revised tariffs would result in a steep fall in the deployment of many renewable heat technologies. Proposed tariff reductions of 45% for parts of the biomass heat sector, for example, were projected by the Government to lead to a 98% drop in installations.

Other technologies, such as solar thermal, were to be removed from the RHI altogether. The proposals resulted in significant outcry from sectors of the renewables industry.

The REA’s analysis of the Government’s finalised scheme, released last week, indicates that the reformed Renewable Heat Incentive moves the UK closer to meeting its legally binding 2020 renewable heat target. However, there will be certain key sectors which may struggle, including biogas and non-domestic biomass boilers.

ADBA chief executive Charlotte Morton said: “It’s great to see that the new ministers in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) remain committed to decarbonising heat in the UK and continuing to support the UK’s burgeoning green gas industry.

“We are pleased to see that tariff levels have been reset – this should support higher levels of deployment. We do not believe, however, that the restrictions on feedstock for new plants, which could have unintended consequences, are justified.

"The introduction of tariff guarantees is extremely welcome and we will continue to work with the UK Government and with our members to ensure the UK AD industry keeps growing and reaches its full potential – for example by calling for urgent action on food waste collections in England.

“Biomethane and biogas have been real success stories from the RHI, and the continuation of this scheme will allow the UK AD industry to build upon its success to date, decarbonising heat without any changes for the consumer.”