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Ask your MP for clarity about the Renewable Heat Incentive

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 14 June 2010 at 9:44 am

No one can confidently say that renewable heat is a good investment right now, as we don't know whether or not the promised renewable heat incentive will be introduced in April 2011 as laid out by the former Labour government. Making a significant investment when you can't confidently calculate the return doesn't seem like a good risk - especially when the government mood music is cuts, cuts, cuts.

Not only is this bad for the consumer, but it's bad for the installer too. Those who've invested in growing their business to meet the demand that it's expected the renewable heat incentive will generate are finding their order books going down. This isn't the way to encourage the much touted growth in green jobs.

One way to show the strength of feeling is to ask your MP to sign Early Day Motion 143, which calls for "the Government to move quickly to maintain this confidence by making clear its intent to proceed with the RHI". Here's our letter to our MP. Please write to yours too, and do feel free cut and paste any bits that you like from ours.

Dear Hugo Swire

YouGen is a renewable energy website based in Sidbury. Our aim is to help people who are thinking making their home (or small business) more energy efficient to find the information they need to make good decisions. To this end we work with over 400 suppliers and installers.

We have noticed a significant increase in interest in renewable energy, and in the number of people interested in entering the market as suppliers since the announcement of the renewable heat incentive (RHI). Devon has taken a strong lead in renewable energy, yet there is a danger of this growth faltering.

With the recent closure of the Low Carbon Building Programme grants scheme, and no word from the coalition government about whether the RHI will be introduced as planned in April 2011 the industry is in a damaging state of limbo. Without the ability to calculate the impact of installation on their finances, people interested in renewable energy are likely to wait and see. This can only damage the industry and is likely to lead to a loss in the vital green jobs that we need to develop.

Many companies have invested in the sector due to the strong cross party support for the renewable heat incentive. I  note that Eric Pickles, Gregory Barker and Charles Hendry all voted to introduce the renewable heat incentive. Greg Clark even claimed in April that "had it not been for Conservative leadership during this Parliament, Britain would have no feed-in tariff, no renewable heat incentive and no Climate Change Act 2008”.

Despite this, there has been a deafening silence from Whitehall on this issue. It is vital that the government makes clear whether or not it intends to proceed with the renewable heat incentive as soon as possible. If so, it is also important to know whether it would be in broadly the same form (subject to responses to the consultation), and what the timetable for introduction will be. If the government does not intend to proceed with the RHI, what, if any, alternative incentive for renewable heat is it planning?

So please sign Early Day Motion 143 in support of an early government announcement on the renewable heat incentive, and please raise this issue directly with the Minister (Gregory Barker) as a matter of urgency.

Yours sincerely
Cathy Debenham
Director, YouGen Ltd

Thanks to the Micropower Council which launched this campaign.

Photo by jimbowen0306


If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.

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5 comments - read them below or add one

Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 7 September 2010 at 2:37 pm

I thought that we all pay through higher bills (via the utilities), so yes, revenue neutral for the government.

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Transition Town HIgh Wycombe

Transition Town HIgh WycombeComment left on: 8 July 2010 at 1:38 pm

Am I wrong or isn't the RHI meant to be revenue-neutral for the Government? Since Tax Payers are protected there is little or no mileage in the Govrnment wishing to scrap such a scheme. Indeed given the joint enthusiasm of all the parties it is hard to imagine how this could be scuppered. Is it not Ofgem who pay the RHI from receipts via the Utilities? Or do I have this wrong?

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Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 28 June 2010 at 9:08 am

Here's the response I got from Hugo Swire:

"First of all, let me say that I do support the implementation of a renewable heat incentive. During the passage of the last Energy Bill, it was an issue on which my party pressed the former Government heavily and we successfully managed to amend the Bill to include provision for the introduction of such a scheme.

"Improving energy efficiency and promoting microgeneration is crucial in the shift towards a low-carbon economy. You may be aware that one of the Government's key proposals to promote microgeneration and improve energy efficiency is the Green Deal. This will be an entitlement for every home to be fitted with energy efficiency improvements, with the cost being repaid through fuel bills, delivering immediate reductions in gas and electricity bills.

"As a Government Minister I am precluded from signing Early Day Motions but I do support the sentiment of encouraging renewable heat.
My ministerial colleagues at the Department of Energy and Climate Change are working now with civil servants to plan the detailed implementation of our policies which include the Renewable Heat Incentive.

"Thank you again for taking the time to contact me. "

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AlternativeComment left on: 15 June 2010 at 11:56 am

I thought that the proposed start date for RHI was April 2011 and not 2012 as stated in your blog?


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Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 15 June 2010 at 11:22 am

You're right - thank you - I'll change it.

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