Industry warns UK government over delays to renewable heat incentive

Posted at May 22, 2012 » By : » Categories : News » Comments Off on Industry warns UK government over delays to renewable heat incentive

Representatives of the renewable heat industry wrote to Energy Minister Greg Barker on Friday warning over delays to the wider rollout of the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).

The Micropower Council, the British Electrotechnical and Allied Manufacturers Association (BEAMA), the Heat Pump Association and the Heating and Hotwater Industry Council warn that the delay to including air and water heat pumps in the scheme is distorting the market.

The RHI gives businesses a subsidy for generating renewable heat, but only with eligible technologies. Air and water source heat pumps were initially excluded from the scheme, but the government promised to add them in this October.

But the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) have indicated that the inclusion of the technology will now be delayed until summer 2013, when the scheme is rolled out to domestic users as well.

The four trade associations are calling for an urgent meeting with the government to review the decision, which they say is allowing other technologies such as biomass boilers and ground source heat pumps to gain an unfair competitive advantage.

Apparently DECC has indicated that the delay is the result of concerns that obtaining State Aid approval for the scheme will take some time. To mitigate the problem, the government would prefer to put in just one ‘batch’ of technologies for approval.

“The difficulty with this approach is that this prolongs the distortion of the market, in our view quite unnecessarily for what is a very simple and straightforward update, now supported by a robust evidence base,” says the letter.

The trade associations say they believe there should be no issue with adding air and water source heat pumps into the scheme, regardless of State Aid approvals.

“We call for urgent confirmation that the Government will stick to its previous commitment of including this key technology in the RHI this October to avoid damaging confidence in this and future government proposals,” they say.

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Related stories:
Hitachi joins UK £100 million smart heating programme (13-Apr)
Future plan for UK’s renewable heat scheme brings new uncertainty (28-Mar)
Efficient hot water boilers could save UK organisations £400 million a year (1-Mar)
Renewable heat incentive pays out to first UK organisations (6-Jan)

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