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View blog posts for category: Biomass

London buses will soon be powered by coffee

Posted by Sam Tonge on 22 November 2017 at 4:50 pm

London buses will soon be powered by coffee

Turns out that it’s not just electric vehicles making the headlines this year, as Transport for London (TFL) announces a biofuel extracted from waste coffee grounds will be used to power some of the city’s buses from next Monday. The tech firm Bio-bean has so far produced enough f…

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Getting the most out of a wood-burning stove.

Posted by Andrew McGowan on 31 October 2017 at 9:20 am

Getting the most out of a wood-burning stove.

Andrew McGowan has 15 years of wood-burning experience and experimentation with Morso and Stovax stoves. As our guest blogger this week, Andrew shares with us his tips on efficient wood burning techniques in the home.    Use well-seasoned (dry) wood with mo…

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Important changes to the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme coming on September 20th

Posted by Jordan Willis on 19 September 2017 at 2:43 pm

Important changes to the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme coming on September 20th

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme, introduced in 2011, was designed to pay households for heat generation from renewable energy sources. In encouraging news, Ofgem have confirmed that RHI is set to see a significant increase in payments from the 20th September 2017 onward. Subject to fina…

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How to reduce smoke emissions from domestic wood-burning appliances

Posted by Sandra Hayes on 13 July 2017 at 2:30 pm

How to reduce smoke emissions from domestic wood-burning appliances

Burning wood in a domestic stove or boiler can generally be regarded as a more sustainable approach to heating than traditional methods such as coal or gas heating. This is because the carbon dioxide (CO²) emissions produced as a result of burning wood fuel remain part of the carbon cycle, b…

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What does biomass boiler maintenance involve?

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 31 May 2017 at 11:50 am

What does biomass boiler maintenance involve?

If you are thinking of installing a biomass boiler, I'm sure you are thinking of how (and when) the boiler will be maintained. In the video below, SuperHomer Mark Brown tells us about the operation and maintenance of the KWB Easyfire wood pellet boiler fitted in 2009 in the five bedr…

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What are the financial pros and cons of a biomass boiler?

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 17 May 2017 at 4:55 pm

What are the financial pros and cons of a biomass boiler?

The environmental case for biomass is unquestionable - we can grow more of it, unlike oil, gas and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). But what about the cost of a biomass boiler? The price of installation, fuel and maintenance are important considerations when choosing a new boiler. In this v…

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What plumbing does a biomass boiler need?

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 10 May 2017 at 2:33 pm

What plumbing does a biomass boiler need?

Thinking of installing a biomass boiler? Have you considered the plumbing involved with this? In the video below, SuperHomer Mark Brown shows us the plumbing and 500 litre buffer tank installed for his wood pellet boiler. Mark chose this biomass boiler for the five bedroom house in South Buck…

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What cleaning and maintenance does a biomass boiler need?

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 21 April 2017 at 2:26 pm

What cleaning and maintenance does a biomass boiler need?

If you are thinking about installing a biomass boiler, you’ll want to know how much cleaning and maintenance is involved. A biomass boiler needs regular cleaning and servicing as build-ups of ash and clinker can stop it working efficiently and even cause damage. Some of these tasks you …

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How Green are Biofuels?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 22 March 2017 at 5:15 pm

How Green are Biofuels?

Our society is addicted to oil. The International Energy Agency estimates that the world will use 96 million barrels of oil (152 billion litres) a day throughout 2016 [1]. Our oil usage shows no sign of slowing down, so we desperately need an alternative for this non-renewable resource.   …

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How do I handle the ash from my biomass boiler?

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 27 February 2017 at 2:05 pm

How do I handle the ash from my biomass boiler?

In this video SuperHomer Mark Brown reveals the suprisingly small amount of ash produced by his wood pellet boiler after burning through around  4.5 tonnes of wood pellets each year. Mark lives in a five bedroom house in South Buckinghamshire with wife Liya and their children. The house was …

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How do I get the best burn from my wood burning stove?

Posted by Stewart Mcilroy on 21 February 2017 at 9:55 am

How do I get the best burn from my wood burning stove?

To get the best burn from you wood burning stove, it's vital to use your stove's secondary air supply correctly... You might be thinking that now you have got your wood burner installed, you can happily burn as much wood as you like safe in the knowledge that you have done your bit fo…

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Buying your own woodland - what is involved?

Posted by Stewart Mcilroy on 9 February 2017 at 11:30 am

Buying your own woodland - what is involved?

A year ago, my good wife and I summoned up the courage, and finance, to purchase our own woodland - five acres (just over two hectares) of beech woods in the Chilterns. It’s classified as PAWS (Plantation on Ancient Woodland Site) because it’s been continuously wooded since 1650 (know…

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Can I service my biomass boiler myself?

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 31 January 2017 at 11:10 am

Can I service my biomass boiler myself?

Biomass boilers that burn wood logs, chips or pellets require more attention than gas or oil boilers as build-ups of ash and clinker can stop the boiler working efficiently. Some of these tasks you will need to do yourself, such as regular cleaning and checking. As with servicing your car, be…

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Can I install a wood burning stove or biomass boiler if I live in a Smoke Control Area?

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 18 January 2017 at 10:30 am

Can I install a wood burning stove or biomass boiler if I live in a Smoke Control Area?

The answer is yes, but only an approved model. This is because many areas of the country have air quality problems which affect human health and, although pollutant emissions from biomass boilers are lower than from coal, if you live in a smoke control area there are restrictions on the type of b…

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Does my biomass boiler have to comply with Building Regulations?

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 13 January 2017 at 3:30 pm

Does my biomass boiler have to comply with Building Regulations?

The answer is Yes. Building Regulations apply if you change buildings in certain ways, including installing a biomass boiler. The regulations cover a range of issues, including safety, fire protection, and energy efficiency. How do I get Building Regulations’ approval for my biomass boi…

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Hygge, happiness and the real wood fire experience

Posted by Stewart Mcilroy on 4 January 2017 at 12:05 pm

Hygge, happiness and the real wood fire experience

Hygge (pronounced hooga) as you may know is the Danish word for a certain sort of happiness. This is not the happiness from buying new stuff (if, in fact, that actually makes you happy) or the happiness from winning at sport, but a type of contentment happiness where one has a warm glow and is at…

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Do I need planning permission to install a biomass boiler?

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 29 December 2016 at 12:05 pm

Do I need planning permission to install a biomass boiler?

In a few cases you will need planning permission to install a biomass boiler. Biomass heating systems do not generally require planning permission as they are deemed ‘permitted developments’, but in some cases the visual impact of the flue or alterations to the building may …

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Changes to Renewable Heat Incentive tariffs from Spring 2017

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 20 December 2016 at 11:20 am

Changes to Renewable Heat Incentive tariffs from Spring 2017

On 14 December the government (BEIS) published its response to the March 2016 consultation on reform of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). This includes changes to the tariffs and conditions of the domestic and non-domestic RHI schemes. These will apply, according to the response, from spring 20…

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Domestic biomass RHI tariff to rise by 53% on 1 Apr 2017

Posted by Gordon Glass on 16 December 2016 at 9:30 am

Domestic biomass RHI tariff to rise by 53% on 1 Apr 2017

The domestic biomass RHI tariff will rise to 6.44p/kWh from 1 Apr 2017 – a 53% increase from the tariff of 4.21p/kWh already set for the period Jan-Mar 2017! We expect the new tariff to be available for applications made from 1 April to support the installation of biomass pellet boilers and…

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Changes to Renewable Heat Incentive tariffs from 1 January 2017

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 14 December 2016 at 10:30 am

Changes to Renewable Heat Incentive tariffs from 1 January 2017

On 30 November the government (BEIS) announced reductions to the Renewable Heat Incentive tariffs for certain new domestic and non-domestic installations with applications approved on or after 1 January 2017. The percentage reductions in domestic and non-domestic RHI tariffs are as follows: …

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Should I get my chimney swept before using my wood burner?

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 12 December 2016 at 12:30 pm

Should I get my chimney swept before using my wood burner?

Is your chimney clean enough for Santa to avoid getting stuck this year? Nobody wants smoke coming back down into the room, so getting the chimney and flue swept to free them of obstructions is a must if you want a safer, more efficient burn this winter. Whatever fuel you are using, people of…

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What does a biomass boiler annual service involve?

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 7 December 2016 at 12:30 pm

What does a biomass boiler annual service involve?

Biomass boilers that burn wood logs, chips or pellets, require more attention than gas or oil boilers when it comes to filling, cleaning and fuel delivery. They should also be cleaned and serviced regularly as build-ups of ash and clinker can stop the boiler working efficiently. Some of these tas…

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Calling installers - biomass boiler push. Are you with us?

Posted by Gordon Glass on 28 November 2016 at 11:30 am

Calling installers - biomass boiler push. Are you with us?

You are a biomass installer on the MCS register, but how will you fair in our 10 second quiz on your specialist subject. Stopwatch at the ready... When you type ‘Biomass Boiler’ into Google: Q1. Who ranks Top 3?* Q2. How many views do you need to rank Top 3? Q3. What does…

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Biomass boiler installation: what's involved?

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 16 November 2016 at 10:30 am

Biomass boiler installation: what's involved?

In 2009 SuperHomer Mark Brown had a biomass boiler installed to heat his 1980s five bedroom detached family home. In this video he gives us an overview of the installation process. We also fast forward to 2014 to see how it looks five years later. At the time of installation it took Mark…

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How does a full log box keep you and your wood stove happy?

Posted by Stewart Mcilroy on 9 November 2016 at 11:15 am

How does a full log box keep you and your wood stove happy?

Good preparation is important if you want to heat your home efficiently with a wood stove. What you want is ‘maximisation of heat out’ and ‘minimisation of effort in’. The practical and psychological benefits of advance preparation are clear to me. Practical benef…

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What are the basics of a modern biomass boiler?

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 4 November 2016 at 5:05 pm

What are the basics of a modern biomass boiler?

In this video SuperHomer Mark Brown introduces us to the wood pellet boiler he chose to get installed in his 1980s five bedroom detached family home in 2009. Mark's boiler is substantially larger than the usual gas boiler and is installed in the garage. Some boiler models do not take…

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How should I season and store wood for my stove?

Posted by Anna Carlini on 26 October 2016 at 12:05 pm

How should I season and store wood for my stove?

What are the aims of wood storage and why it is so important? I spoke to Stewart McIlroy, SuperHomer and wood stove owner about his advice for wood storage. Stewart says that the main aim of storing wood is to ‘season’ it. Newly chopped wood contains a high percentage of water whi…

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Why can I not get both RHI and FiTs?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 16 September 2016 at 5:05 pm

Why can I not get both RHI and FiTs?

Question: Our new custom built house will have a new air source heat pump & solar thermal. Assuming we use an accredited supplier etc we think we may be eligible for Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme payments for these. However according to the Ofgem Domestic RHI Reference document (page …

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Heating in self-build and privately commissioned new homes is eligible for renewable heat incentive

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 15 September 2016 at 3:45 pm

Heating in self-build and privately commissioned new homes is eligible for renewable heat incentive

We all know that the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is designed to encourage the retrofit of renewable heat (RH) technologies into existing properties. However, there is a clever little exception which will help more RH technologies to be installed and it relates to new build. Generally new b…

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UK domestic wood use survey notes higher use in Northern Ireland

Posted by Alex Barrett on 8 June 2016 at 10:10 am

UK domestic wood use survey notes higher use in Northern Ireland

Biomass provides a larger share of UK energy than previously thought. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has published the results of their domestic wood use survey. This was conducted in 2014 and aimed to determine how many households were using wood as fuel, and thus “…

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What are the financial pros and cons of a biomass boiler?

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 11 May 2016 at 3:05 pm

What are the financial pros and cons of a biomass boiler?

The environmental case for biomass is unquestionable - we can grow more of it, unlike oil, gas and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). But what about the cost of a biomass boiler? The price of installation, fuel and maintenance are important considerations when choosing a new boiler. In this v…

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Owners of new builds no longer need to wait to get the Renewable Heat Incentive

Posted by Alex Barrett on 20 April 2016 at 10:15 am

Owners of new builds no longer need to wait to get the Renewable Heat Incentive

One of the interesting changes to come out of the government’s recent amendments to the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme, is the change to occupancy regulations for new build properties. Previously it has been the case that any property that has not been occupied for 183 days durin…

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Changes to the Renewable Heat Incentive tariff rates and scheme came into effect on 1 April 2016

Posted by Alex Barrett on 8 April 2016 at 4:30 pm

Changes to the Renewable Heat Incentive tariff rates and scheme came into effect on 1 April 2016

A number of changes to the Renewable Heat Incentive have come into effect.  On 3 March the department of energy and climate change announced changes already made and launched a consultation to evaluate further changes to the scheme [1]. As of 1 April the first round of changes have come into…

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10 tips to help installers attract and retain customers, as report shows only half of RHI customers satisfied with their chosen installer

Posted by Anna Carlini on 22 March 2016 at 11:05 am

10 tips to help installers attract and retain customers, as report shows only half of RHI customers satisfied with their chosen installer

A recent report from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) provides some useful tips for installers on attracting new customers and keeping them satisfied. DECC commissioned 46 in-depth phone interviews as part of the evaluation of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). The survey r…

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Can you source or supply your own wood fuel for your biomass boiler and keep your RHI payments?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 5 February 2016 at 10:35 am

Can you source or supply your own wood fuel for your biomass boiler and keep your RHI payments?

Working out what you need to do to secure your Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) payments when sourcing your own supply of wood fuel may look daunting. Start with our flow chart below to determine what route is best to take then you can skip to the relevant section for what you need to know. …

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Biomass RHI will drop to 5.14p/kWh on 1 Jan 2016

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 18 December 2015 at 10:30 am

Biomass RHI will drop to 5.14p/kWh on 1 Jan 2016

The Renewable Heat Payment for Biomass boilers and stoves is due to reduce by 20% on 1st January 2016. This is inline with OFGEM expectations. The RHI is funded by general taxation and therefore the scheme budget is set at each Government Spending Review.  The expenditure is controlled v…

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Predictable, renewable, is bioenergy the way forward?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 7 October 2015 at 12:50 pm

Predictable, renewable, is bioenergy the way forward?

I recently had the opportunity to speak to Tim Miller at the European Bioenergy Research Institute (EBRI), Aston University. Here is some of what I learned. The National Grid's announcement of an increased risk of blackouts this winter has resulted in buying in additional supplies being p…

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Lower RHI and tighter related fuel use regulation from Oct 2015

Posted by Helena Ripley on 22 September 2015 at 12:05 pm

Lower RHI and tighter related fuel use regulation from Oct 2015

Decreased biomass RHI Biomass boilers must be popular at the moment because the biomass Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) has passed another degression trigger. Degression is the process by which the government controls expenditure on the domestic RHI scheme and it involves reducing the tariffs …

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Will a wood burning stove save me money?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 25 August 2015 at 12:30 pm

Will a wood burning stove save me money?

Most people don’t get a wood burning stove for the cost benefits. Although there might be some saving in terms of money and carbon emissions, stoves are mostly attractive because they are cosy and homely. The best way to save money with a stove is to source your fuel as cheaply as possible …

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How much does a wood burning stove cost?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 24 August 2015 at 1:50 pm

How much does a wood burning stove cost?

A wood burning stove is a big investment: they can cost over £2000 to buy, plus a potential £1500 to install, and there is the on-going cost of fuel to consider as well. On the other hand, switching to a stove should decrease your current heating bills, so how do these costs and savin…

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What is the best fuel for my wood burning stove?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 18 August 2015 at 1:40 pm

What is the best fuel for my wood burning stove?

A stove is a good way to heat a single room when it isn’t cold enough to put the central heating on, or when you want to create a warm cosy atmosphere. But what is the best fuel to use? Before discussing the types of fuel that are available, it is worth noting that some urban areas are …

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What size or type of wood burning stove do I need?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 18 August 2015 at 1:10 pm

What size or type of wood burning stove do I need?

When you consider buying a wood burning stove you need to make sure you get one which is the right size for the room it will go in. Finding the right size stove is important to make the most of the fuel, providing the right amount of heat and not taking up more room than is necessary.  W…

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How FiTs and RHI made us £5000 a year better off!

Posted by Jacob Morris-Davies on 27 July 2015 at 11:55 am

How FiTs and RHI made us £5000 a year better off!

There is no denying it: upgrading your home with eco-technologies costs. However, it doesn’t have to be as expensive as you might think. There are a variety of government-led subsidies for those upgrading homes with green technology, and one couple in Abertridwr, South Wales, say they are &…

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Biomass RHI drops again

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 26 June 2015 at 1:30 pm

Biomass RHI drops again

Just as I write to tell you about the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) degression for solar PV the government announces a degression for the biomass section of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). This time they say a ‘super trigger’ has been reached.  The Department of Energy and Climate…

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Green Open Homes: visit for inspiration in spring and autumn

Posted by Gordon Glass on 18 May 2015 at 10:30 am

Green Open Homes: visit for inspiration in spring and autumn

This month is a busy one for Green Open Homes with events all over the country, from West Cornwall to Yorkshire. An estimated total of 200 homes are being opened up this spring for visitors, showcasing both low cost energy efficient improvements and larger more expensive options. Event locations …

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DECC launch renewable heat incentive calculator

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 17 April 2015 at 4:30 pm

DECC launch renewable heat incentive calculator

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has just launched a new renewable heat incentive calculator.  It is designed to give you an idea of how much you could get in RHI payments if you were to install a renewable heating system. This applies to solar thermal (for hot water) a…

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Been offered a free biomass boiler? Proceed with caution, advises Ofgem

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 9 April 2015 at 2:35 pm

Been offered a free biomass boiler? Proceed with caution, advises Ofgem

Have you been approached by someone offering to install a free biomass boiler in your house? Is this an offer that seems too good to be true?  As the Department of Energy and Climate Change continues to work out how to regulate so called third party ownership under the Renewable…

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Biomass boiler vs heat pump : The fight is on!

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 25 March 2015 at 10:55 am

Biomass boiler vs heat pump : The fight is on!

Domestic biomass installations now outstrip the entire heat pump industry in the UK. But is biomass always better? When might you choose a heat pump instead? We’ve pitted these two titans of the domestic renewable heating world against each other and here’s the fight in full: Rou…

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RHI rate for domestic biomass boilers falls again

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 18 March 2015 at 10:55 am

RHI rate for domestic biomass boilers falls again

The popularity of biomass boilers has led to a second drop in the rate of the domestic renewable heat incentive. The rate fell 10 per cent from 12.2p per kWh to 10.98p on 1 January this year. Following a bumper number of installations in December, it will reduce again on 1 April 2015 - this time …

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Is third party ownership a good thing in the domestic RHI?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 10 March 2015 at 1:10 pm

Is third party ownership a good thing in the domestic RHI?

My husband is a football fan. When I mentioned that the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is exploring the possibility of third party ownership for the domestic renewable heat incentive (RHI) I didn’t need to explain what it is. He gave an immediate definition: “someone, …

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