Renewable Heat Incentive – have you considered the benefits?

“Renewable heat is an emerging area, and it is important that we make the most of the opportunities that it provides for reducing energy bills and carbon emissions” says Professor […]

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By Geoff Curran

“Renewable heat is an emerging area, and it is important that we make the most of the opportunities that it provides for reducing energy bills and carbon emissions” says Professor Tony Day, Energy Services Director at TEAM (Energy Auditing Agency Ltd.).

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) was launched by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) in November 2011 to provide financial support for renewable heat technologies. It is the first payment scheme of its kind in the world for renewable heat, and perhaps because of its novelty it is has been a little slow to take off. But with good design and planning it can be very beneficial to those organisations considering replacing heating equipment with renewable energy technologies. So what are the issues?

Technologies that are eligible include biomass boilers, ground source heat pumps, solar thermal and biogas (except landfill). The price paid for each kWh of heat varies depending on technology and size of installation. The important fact is that payment is made against metered heat. This means that all installations must have correctly installed heat meters located such that they only record eligible heat supply, and eligible loads. It has become apparent in the early stages of the scheme that heat metering is presenting a significant challenge to installations being accredited for RHI payments.

TEAM is assisting the Building and Engineering Services Association (B&ES) to produce a general guide on the application of heat metering for the RHI, to be published in July 2012. This guide will supplement existing guidance from Ofgem about metering strategies for simple and complex installation arrangements.

Across England, Scotland and Wales there are currently 88 biomass schemes, 8 ground and water source heat pumps, and 1 solar thermal system accredited for RHI – a total of around 45 MW of installed capacity. Ofgem publishes regular updates on the numbers of accreditations, complete with heat generated and amount of payments made.

In order to get the most from a renewable heat technology, and maximise the benefits under the RHI, it is important to ensure the system is appropriately selected and designed for the particular application.

TEAM can help in all aspects of renewable energy technologies, from feasibility studies, system design and heat metering strategies, through to full measurement and verification of system performance.

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