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Renewable Heat Incentive RHI to launch before Easter

The world’s first long-term financial support programme for renewable heat, the Renewable Heat Incentive, is set to launch before Easter according to the Energy Minister Greg Barker MP. There are also rumours that it may be unveiled earlier, even as early as Wednesday April 9 when Greg Barker delivers a keynote address at an Energy Summit in the US. This blog looks at the build up to the announcement and the final details of the Renewable Heat Incentive.

There is a suggestion that the new Renewable Heat Incentive could launch on April 9, 2014 at the Bloomberg New Energy Summit in New York City. Energy Minister, Greg Barker has flown in to attend the summit, and will be addressing the summit about the new subsidy scheme. The scheme has yet to clear the final Parliamentary barriers, however it is scheduled to do so before Easter.

Why this initiative now?

In the UK, £32 billion is spent every year on heat accounting for 47% of the UK energy. This heating bill is responsible for one third of the UK’s carbon emissions and contributes massively towards the UK’s overall carbon footprint. By increasing the next generation of heat from renewable sources as opposed to fossil fuels, the Renewable Heat Incentive will reduce the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions and will meet the government’s targets for reducing the effects on climate change from the UK.

What is the Renewable Heat Incentive?

The Renewable Heat Incentive allows homeowners, private landlords and self-builders, to receive payments from the government for any renewable sources of heat they use in their properties. The renewable sources include ground source heat pumps, solar thermal and biomass-fuelled boilers.

Was there a trial?

In November 2011 the government launched a non-domestic programme that issued payments to industry, businesses and public sector organisations using renewable heat. This scheme was a success so the government moved forward with the £1.8 billion Domestic Renewable heat Incentive.

What are the details of the scheme?

If you install an eligible renewable heat source in your home and apply to the scheme, you will be paid quarterly over a seven-year period at 12.2p/kWh. The payments and tariffs have been created to match the estimated cost of installing and maintaining your renewable appliances. The government has claimed that over 18,000 properties have already installed renewable heat sources in their homes over the last three years. The scheme will apply to MCS-certified systems fitted since 2009.

Green Deal Assessment

When you apply for the scheme you must have a Green Deal Assessment of your property/ies. The only properties that do not require a Green Deal Assessment are self-builds because the efficiency standards in building regulations already matches the mandatory needs. During the assessment of your home you may be informed that you must install loft insulation or cavity wall insulation. If you are told this, then you will need to install the insulation before you apply to the Renewable Heat Incentive. You will then be issued with a new Energy Performance Certificate for your property with the new calculations based on the building’s heat losses.

Is it right for me?

Not every property in the UK will be appropriate for the Renewable Heat Incentive and the eligible appliances under the scheme. Biomass boilers are much bigger than the standard oil boiler and require much more space in your home. Heat pumps only work well in very well insulated homes and usually work best as under floor heating. If you have electric showers hen solar thermal will be useless to you and your home, as the solar will heat water that won’t be used. You need to assess your home and your current energy efficiency before you consider installing new devices.

There is announcement expected at the summit on April 9, 2014 regarding the Renewable Heat Incentive and once the final Parliamentary processes have been fulfilled, the scheme will be available to all domestic properties in the UK.

Have you considered the Renewable Heat Incentive? Do you already have a renewable heat source in your home? Tell us about it below and what you think the new scheme. Will it work?

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