Delay of Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)

In March this year, details of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) were presented by Chris Huhne, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. The £860m scheme is designed to subsidise the use of renewable heating systems and technologies including biomass, ground source and water source heat pumps, solar thermal and biomethane.

Under the first stage of the RHI, organisations using renewable heat will receive quarterly payments for 20 years from the date they enter the scheme. There is also support available for existing eligible renewable heat equipment installed since 15th July 2009. A similar scheme for domestic users is due to begin next year.
The purpose of the RHI is to offer an investment in our future as well as several significant benefits:
  • To support emerging technologies and businesses in the UK.
  • To strengthens security of supply by offering several heating options.
  • To reduce carbon emissions
  • Contributes to the Government’s commitment to introduce measures to promote a huge increase in energy from waste through anaerobic digestion.
The planned implementation date was set as 1 October however the launch has been delayed by at least a month as the Government await formal state aid approval from Brussels.
While The Department of Energy and Climate Change insist that the scheme is only being delayed rather than abandoned, the immediate fears are that as heat demand is seasonal, delaying until the end of November could mean many customers will either put off a decision until next winter or buy a new fossil fuel boiler now, locking them in to higher carbon heat for years to come.