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RHI “Doomed to fail” – Can it be saved in time?

May 9, 2016 featured image

RHI is destined to fail unless there is “radical reform”. That’s according to Energy and Utilities Alliance (EUA).

A recently published report called “RHI: A Smarter Approach” published to coincide with the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) RHI consultation, concludes that the proposed RHI policy will not deliver a significant change to the UK heating market, and is unlikely to contribute to achieving the 2020 renewables target.

After the failure of the green deal the government should be doing more to make the RHI work but it would seem that yet another scheme designed to promote the use of renewable energy is not being given enough commitment.

Leading industry figures are now voicing their concerns.

Isaac Occhipinti, head of external affairs at EUA, said: “The proposed RHI policy will not make the difference we had all hoped for. It is fundamentally flawed both in terms of what it will cost and the reform it can deliver. Even under a favourable set of assumptions, it is anticipated that the RHI will incentivise the installation of 100,000 renewable heating systems over the next five years. In the same period, we’d expect eight million boilers to be installed.

“We advocate that the RHI should be used in a much more targeted way. For each sector of the housing market the most appropriate heating solution should be identified, this would deliver the most effective result both in terms of cost and carbon savings.

EUA would like to see the RHI used to replace:

  • Direct electric heating with renewables to deliver the highest carbon savings.
  • LPG with biopropane, currently not included in the RHI.

“In addition we need to continue to decarbonise the fuel we use – ‘greening’ our gas. Figures from National Grid suggest that 50% of energy demand for heat could be met by biogases by 2050, delivering renewable heat to all homes on the gas grid without any action required by the home owner.

“If we are serious about our renewables targets then we need more than a flawed scheme. We would urge DECC to think again about how to use the limited funds available for the RHI otherwise it will be doomed to fail.”

Stuart Clements, director of HHIC, said: “The RHI needs a clearer focus if it hopes to make any impact on our renewables targets. HHIC would like to see funding targeted at those homes that can accommodate a renewable heating system and those where the current heating system is carbon intensive.

HHIC would also like to see:

  • Solar thermal to remain within the scheme, especially as it improves the efficiency of a heat pump.
  • Support developing the heat pump market. Increasing the tariff alone will not result in adoption of the technology.

“We are legally committed to achieving our 2020 renewable targets with the RHI the flagship policy for helping to decarbonise heat. Unfortunately, as it stands the RHI will simply not deliver,”

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