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Metering is biggest challenge to RHI

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 15 November 2012 at 3:09 pm

The biggest challenges in the RHI are around metering, according to Lindsay Goater, senior manager, RHI generation at Ofgem. Speaking at the Westminster Forum seminar, Delivering the Renewable Heat Incentive, earlier this week he said that the main problem is meters not installing them to the manufacturer's instructions.

Other challenges to the scheme identified by Goater are that it is a world first, that there are complex eligibility requirements, the immaturity of the market, with unpenetrated technologies, and adapting legacy installations (those installed since 15 July 2009 and the start of the scheme) to comply with the RHI requirements.

Ofgem is working to simplify the metering requirements and to improve the guidance available. Goater recommends the guide to metering for RHI published by B&ES

So far, take up of the RHI has been much slower than expected: solid biomass makes up 99 % of installed capacity under the renewable heat incentive (RHI). Just 0.31% of the spend is on solar thermal, with 0.65% of money paid out going to heat pump owners. Just over half of the 1,000 applications so far have been accredited, with £2m of this year's budget of £70m paid out so far. Only four applications have been rejected, and that's because they had received grants from public funds.

The heat pump and solar thermal industries are in recession at the moment, said David Matthews, chair of the Ground Source Heat Pump Association. He pointed to three areas that need addressing to get the market moving:
1. Tariffs need to be reviewed to make sure they are correct
2. Heat pumps are often used for heating and cooling, so there needs to be a way to support them as well as the heat only products
3. He emphasised the importance of pre-accreditation for GSHP, given the long lead time projects have and the proposed quarterly degression.
Expanding on his point about heating and cooling, he added "we need to put in the best low carbon solution. Let's have engineering driving policy, not policy driving engineering."

Photo Natalia Osiatynska

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