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RHI announcements delayed until February

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 13 January 2011 at 10:17 am

Those anxiously waiting for news of what's going to be included in the renewable heat incentive and what the tariff levels are will have to wait a bit long according to the following announcement that the Renewable Energy Association just circulated to members:


Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) update

"Following the failure to get decision documents out before Christmas, we now have the latest information on RHI timings.

DECC has taken all the decisions that are within its power, but the documents are delayed for approval from other departments. The main sticking point is air quality, where DECC [Department of Energy And Climate Change] and Defra [Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs] have been unable to reach agreement. There are also still discussions with Treasury, although these are on relatively minor ‘in-year’ accounting details. This is a significant step forward, as the threat of tariff reductions before the first planned review (a very real threat for the Feed-in Tariffs) now seems to be off the table.

The current situation is that the documents will not be published in January, with early/mid February more likely. The timetable is then very tight. There will be a fresh consultation, before the regulations are approved by Parliament. The European Commission also needs to give State Aids approval.

If the documents are published by mid-February, the June/July start date is still reasonable (although July is more likely). If this deadline is missed, however, then the start date will slip further – to the Autumn, or possibly even later.

We therefore need to apply maximum pressure to get these issues resolved urgently…"

Photo by Josef Stuefer


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

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7 comments - read them below or add one


GlenfenderComment left on: 8 February 2011 at 2:01 pm

PM stands for Particulate Matter - you get PM 10 and PM 2.5 etc - I think denoting the size of the particles. In Air Quality Management Areas (as decreed by Local Authorities) there are likely to be restrictions on biomass boiler installations if they may either make it more difficult for the area to achieve the target level for the particular particulate (PM10 or PM2.5) or make it more likely that that target level may be exceeded.  As far as the RHI is concerned I was under the impression that there are already the mechanisms in place in local authorities to limit (or ban completely) installations of biomass systems in these Air Quality Management Areas.  Simply putting in a clause in the RHI scheme which states that any installation proposed for an AQM Area requires to be consented by the Local Authority.

It is interesting to note that the source of most of the PM is from traffic - diesel lorries, buses, cars and taxis etc - but rather than try to seriously tackle the pollution from these - biomass boilers are an easy hit.

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Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 3 February 2011 at 9:46 am

Hi Brian, thanks for your contribution. Just not sure what some of the initials you use stand for: Am I right in guessing NG is natural gas, Gj is giga joules? But don't know what PM stands for - can you translate? thanks

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brianWComment left on: 2 February 2011 at 8:10 pm

Reference air quality impact it should be noted comparitive UK PM emissions data for modern boilers details. NG 1g/Gj, gas oil 5, pellets 30g/Gj, woodchip 60-80, log boiler 105 and coal 120 g/Gj.

 PM is confirmed to be most hazardous air pollurant by WHO so air quality degradation becomes serious consideration in RHI decisions.  

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Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 20 January 2011 at 9:32 am

Can you give us a hint about where the reliable information comes from?1

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Bunny Man

Bunny ManComment left on: 19 January 2011 at 8:07 am

reliably informed the announcement will be made on Feb 22nd

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Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 14 January 2011 at 12:30 pm

I know, it's mad. The uncertainty is a nightmare for everyone. But people who are prepared to take a gamble on the technology they want being eligible should be fairly confident that they will qualify. I wrote in my blog on the Low Carbon Transition Plan announced by Ed Miliband in July 2009 that: "The uncertainty of what will happen in the interim before the clean energy cashback is introduced has been removed, with the announcement that anyone installing solar panels or wind turbines before April 2010 will be eligible to receive it. The same applies for the renewable heat incentive due in April 2011."

While the government can renege on that, they don't tend to go back on that sort of commitment, so it's likely that all eligible installations since 15 July 2009 will be OK. But, in this climate of cuts, who knows?

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GlenfenderComment left on: 14 January 2011 at 12:06 pm

Well here's a surprise!  And what is all this about problems with air quality?  There are plenty of safeguards in place regarding air quality - so it should just be a matter of stipulating that these are complied with. We have heard the rumour that things might not even be sorted out this year!  And in the meantime we have people who want to put in biomass systems in their business but are finding that with the VAT increase they are unsure if they can justify it.  In the interim we have no knowledge of who is going to be eligible for RHI (if people go ahead now will they qualify????) even answering that question would help immensely!

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