RHI consultation ‘disappointing for the non-domestic heat market’

The consultation on the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) launched by the government is “disappointing” for the non-domestic market. That’s according to trade body Industrial & Commercial Energy Association (ICOM) in […]

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By Jacqueline Echevarria

The consultation on the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) launched by the government is “disappointing” for the non-domestic market.

That’s according to trade body Industrial & Commercial Energy Association (ICOM) in response to DECC’s “The Renewable Heat Incentive: A reformed and refocused scheme” consultation.

In that document, the government proposed some changes which include introducing a budget cap mechanism to ensure the ongoing affordability of the RHI programme and allowing the Secretary of State to suspend the schemes, if government assesses spending on the RHI is at risk of exceeding its budget cap.

The government also aims to make a change to the way RHI tariffs are changed to reflect inflation.

DECC aims to reduce to one tariff all new biomass boiler deployments, to ensure the affordability of the scheme and promote value for money.

Furthermore, the government also intends to remove support for new solar thermal systems.

The ICOM believes the changes give the wrong message regarding renewable energy.

It added although the budget cap will contribute to the aim of ensuring the RHI does not exceed its budget it could have unintended consequences for the effectiveness of the scheme which should be considered.

According to Ross Anderson, Director of ICOM by reducing the tariff for biomass boilers, the measure will not encourage a greater take up of heat pumps and “will drive end users to use fossil fuel products based on a cost decision”.

He added: “We believe solar thermal should remain within the scheme as it is the technology that people see and they relate solar to renewable energy. The removal of the solar tariff will contribute to the message that renewable energy is not important.

“All too often the non-domestic heating sector is the ‘poor relation’ to the domestic sector. If this Government truly wants the RHI to encourage the uptake of renewable heating systems within the non-domestic market it needs to create a scheme that is both workable and robust.”

DECC insisted that the consultation “was an opportunity for individuals and organisations to provide feedback on the RHI proposals”.

A spokesperson added: “We are now analysing this information and will publish our official response to the consultation later this year.”