RHI upgrade makes more green heat technologies more affordable


Dr. Nina Skorupska, Chief Executive, Renewable Energy Association
Dr. Nina Skorupska, Chief Executive, Renewable Energy Association

A range of policy improvements to the world’s first Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) came into force in the UK yesterday.

The non-domestic RHI pays organisations for every unit (kWh) of useful heat produced using eligible renewable technologies. This counts towards the UK’s 2020 renewable energy target and helps reduce the UK’s dependence on polluting fossil fuels.

The Renewable Energy Association (REA) – the largest such trade body in the UK – and its affiliated trade bodies the Solar Trade Association and Wood Heat Association – all welcome these improvements, which are the result of close cooperation between industry and Government.

 Key changes to the scheme provide for increased support for:

  • Large biomass heat projects
  • Deep geothermal heating
  • Ground source heat pumps
  • Solar heating

 And new developments also see new support for:

  • Air source heat pumps
  • Biomass combined heat and power (CHP)
  • On-site anaerobic digestion at all volumes (ending the previous 200kw limit)

The Renewable Energy Association has also been working closely with DECC on changes to the budget management mechanisms, to minimise policy costs to the taxpayer whilst ensuring cost-effective technologies are given room to grow.

 In particular, wood heat companies were frustrated that small and medium biomass tariffs were degressed last year despite a major underspend on the RHI scheme overall. Today’s changes reduce tariff degression triggers for large biomass, biomethane injection and ground source heat pumps whilst significantly increasing triggers for small and medium biomass, giving these sectors more room to grow.

 Dr Nina Skorupska, Chief Executive, Renewable Energy Association, said: “The Renewable Heat Initiative is now a truly world-leading renewable energy policy. Almost all renewable heat applications are now supported under the scheme, offering businesses greater choice than ever before on how to sustainably meet their heating needs.

 “Local authorities and housing associations can also benefit from the expanded support for technologies that can feed district heating schemes, such as biomass, geothermal and energy from waste.”

The Renewable Energy Association represents renewable energy producers and promotes the use of all forms of renewable energy in the UK across power, heat, transport and renewable gas. It is the largest renewable energy trade association in the UK, with approximately 1,000 members, ranging from major multinationals to sole traders.

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