The British Government has committed to meet stringent carbon reduction targets in the UK Renewables Roadmap and Heat Strategy programmes.
In order to do this, it is offering a payback program that rewards renewable heat users and installers for their commitment to on-site generated, sustainable energy. This is called the Renewable Heat Incentive.
The technologies included in the scheme are biomass boilers, including combined heat and power (CHP) units, ground source and air source heat pumps, solar thermal (for hot water), biomethane combustion and biogas injection.
If an installation qualifies to receive RHI payments, dependent on factors such as certified monitoring of heat production and usage and acceptable emission levels, the recipient will be entitled to these payments for a guaranteed 20 years for phase 1 of the scheme. You can read more about RHI eligibility here.
This scheme is in fluid and constant development, consisting of numerous consultations over the year on its development and two phases. Currently the renewable heating sector is in phase 1 of the RHI, focused on encouraging the uptake of renewables in the non-domestic sector, particularly commercial, industrial and large heat users such as historic and stately homes, health care and the public sector.
Recently DECC have announced that the results of their most recent consultations were publicised in Summer 2013 - these were published here on the DECC website for the domestic RHI (though not yet for the non-domestic RHI).
It looks likely that phase 2 of the RHI will be input in Spring 2014 (alongside the non-domestic phase announcements). Currently, DECC are looking to include a wider variety of heating technologies and develop this sector in the coming months of 2013-2014. This includes the domestic development of phase 2.
The non-domestic RHI has since 23 September 2013 seen additional changes being implemented by DECC, following the consultation. These include the requirement to comply with air quality limits (specific to biomass boiler emissions) and the simplification of metering requirements.
The Heat Strategy outlines a drive toward cutting reliance on fossil fuels as it has been calculated that around 80% of today's British industry and heating relies on fossil fuel.
- A £9million package to help local authorities. This will aim to help authorities obtain heat network schemes in urban areas across the UK. In order to do this, a dedicated Heat Networks Delivery Unit has been created to sit within the DECC and provide advice.
- £1million for the cities of Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Sheffield and Nottingham to assist them in developing heat networks.
- 100 green apprenticeships. These will be funded primarily for young people in small scale renewable technologies across the country.
- Up to £250,000 will be provided for a 'first come first served' voucher scheme for heat installers. This will allow them to get money off the cost of renewable heating kit installation training, and could provide up to £500 (or 75%) of the cost of training courses per person.
- Directly working with industrial sectors to encourage renewable heating and processing uptake, aimed to design long term pathways to cut their carbon use.