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Observer Ethical awards Winners 2011

YouGen press release

YouGen response to the Renewable Heat Incentive announcement

Posted on 10 March 2011 at 1:54 pm

“We welcome the Government's announcement of the Renewable Heat Incentive and are encouraged that it is committing ‘more than a quarter of the first year’s budget for up to 25,000 household installations’ in the first year,” said Cathy Debenham, founder of YouGen.

“However, it is disappointing that there is still no detail on the domestic tariffs. This means the market, which is currently stalled, will remain stalled. It will probably also mean more people buying non-renewable systems because they can’t wait until May/July, and more small businesses that just can’t survive the uncertainty. Why would anyone take the risk and go ahead when it’s still not clear which technologies are included, and what the return will be.


“We are glad to hear that homes will have to be well insulated to claim the RHI Premium Payment and that it will focus on the off gas grid sector. However, as many of the latter are difficult and expensive to insulate, it will be interesting to see how that works in practice.

Reporting and monitoring

“While we are pleased  to see the requirement for monitoring and reporting on performance as part of the RHI Premium Payment scheme, we are also concerned about how the findings will be used. Renewable heat systems are still unfamiliar to most consumers and if we are to build confidence and trust in them, it is important that the RHI scheme works to encourage really effective installations.

“The Energy Saving Trust’s field trial of heat pump installations published in September last year indicated that there is considerable room for improvement. If consumers don’t have confidence that renewable heat systems will keep them warm, and heat their water when they need it, no amount of incentive will encourage take up. So using the results to bester uderstand how to get the most out of the systems makes good sense.

“However, if they are also be used to inform tariff levels, it is important that there is a really clear and transparent process around how that will be done, so that the uncertainty of the current feed-in tariff review isn’t repeated with the RHI.”

For further information contact Cathy Debenham, 01395 597879,

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