Thursday, 8 August 2013

Domestic RHI - summary of scheme proposals

DECC has published its response to the consultation on the domestic version of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).  The response includes a lot of detail on the types of technology that will be supported, their 'performance' and the type of properties and tenure that will be eligible.

To assist readers we have produced a summary of the proposals as they stand.  This can be found here.

The proposals for biomass heating are of particular interest to this blog.  The main points of interest include:

  • The tariff for biomass has increased from 8.7 p/kWh (initially proposed in 2012) to 12.2 p/kWh.  Whilst this is slightly below the 13-15 p/kWh we would have liked to see it is clearly an improvement.  The final tariff is yet to be announced but presumably it will be well before the proposed scheme opening date of April 1st 2014.

  • The tariff will be paid over seven years according to deemed heat.  This is the heat load as determined by the EPC that is created during a Green Deal assessment which is a mandatory requirement.

  • Legacy systems installed since 15th July 2009 will also be eligible providing they were installed by an MCS accredited company.  
  • Biomass equipment will need to meet meet air quality standards in relation to particulate matter (PM) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx). Legacy installations, installed between 15th July 2009 and the launch of the scheme, will not need to meet this requirement.
  • A new requirement around fuel sustainability will be introduced for  biomass installations.  To be eligible for and continue to receive RHI support for a biomass system, fuel needs to be sourced from a supplier registered on an approved supplier list. Such a list will be set up ahead of the launch of the scheme and will be the same one that is being established for the non-domestic RHI scheme.
The final point on sustainability is interesting and has important implications for wood fuel suppliers. To be included on the list, DECC intends that fuel suppliers will have to meet two criteria from April 2014:

  • Supply fuel which complies with the greenhouse gas (GHG) lifecycle emissions target of achieving 60% GHG savings against the EU fossil fuel heat average, assuming a boiler efficiency of 70%.
  • Report their performance against the relevant land criteria from the following list (although compliance with the criteria will not initially be required):

Evidence of legality and sustainability can come in two forms:

  • Category A evidence is independent certification of the timber/ timber products by any of the forest certification schemes that meet the policy requirements (such as FSC and PEFC).
  • Category B evidence is alternative documentary evidence that provides assurance that the source is legal and sustainable.
Category A evidence is the 'belt and braces' approach and undoubtedly involves the procurement of external expertise from Forest Stewardship Council and the accredited certification bodies are authorised to issue FSC certificates.

The alternative is Category B evidence and you will be glad to hear that this includes use of the Forestry Commission's Woodland Planning Grant (WPG) that falls under the English Woodland Grant Scheme (EWGS).  

However, the WPG Category B option is open to owners with less than 100 hectares of woodland, and more than 3 hectares, and whose woodlands are not certified.  As such it is envisaged that owners with more than 100 hectares will pursue the Category A, full certification option.

As ever we would recommend a good read of the full DECC document to make sure you pick up all of the salient points.

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