Micropower Council calls for end to “distorted” UK heating market

Posted at August 17, 2012 » By : » Categories : News » Comments Off on Micropower Council calls for end to “distorted” UK heating market

The Micropower Council yesterday led a call to the government to end to the “distorted” UK renewable heating market.

Under current arrangements, certain renewable heat technologies are eligible to receive the government’s renewable heat tariff, which operates like the feed-in tariff for renewable energy technologies.

The Micropower Council, along with the Heat Pumps Association, BEAMA and the Heating and Hot Water Industry Council, want to see the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) extended to include air-to-water heat pumps, which are currently exempt from the scheme.

The industry says that excluding air-to-water heat pumps is creating an unfair and skewed market. The statement from the Micropower Council calls for the government to stick to its original timetable for adding the technology to its approved list.

“All we want is a level playing field for all renewable heating solutions, and the Minister has not supplied any justifiable reason to continue with what is now a serious and harmful market distortion in what should by now be a flourishing commercial renewable heating market,” says Dave Sowden, chief executive of the Micropower Council.

He says that government officials have confirmed that there is no legal reason for not proceeding with the addition of air-to-water heat pumps to the RHI without a consultation this autumn.

“Our call is to apply a tariff to exactly the same formula as for the other technologies, and the European Commission has told us it could process a properly completed State Aid application within two months,” adds Sowden.

Kelly Butler of the BEAMA adds that current phase of the RHI is stifling any sustainable growth for air source heat pumps by excluding them.

“The simple fact is that commercial air to water heat pumps offer a great opportunity to meet our renewable targets and absolutely fit in with the Government’s long term de-carbonised energy scenarios,” she says.

The current phase of the RHI, which began in November 2011, includes biomass boilers, ground source heat pumps, bio gas and solar thermal technologies. Air-to-water heat pumps were originally excluded from the scheme because of a lack of cost data but the government subsequently indicated that the technology would be included this year.

“There is no logic in continuing to exclude air to water heat pumps from the government’s RHI scheme,” says Roger Webb, director of the Heating and Hotwater Industry Council. “It does create confusion why some technologies are included and others are not…it is important to have a level playing field for all renewable technologies so that opportunities can be created.”

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Related stories:
Renewable Heat Incentive will halt if budget exceeded, says UK government (12-Jun)
Industry warns UK government over delays to renewable heat incentive (21-May)
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)

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