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News special: The UK Renewable Heat Incentive:

Overview for biomass heating

Details of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) were announced by the Government on Thursday 10th March in a press notice from the Department of Energy and Climate change (DECC).

Industry, commercial and public sector

Following Parliamentary approval it is planned that the RHI for non-domestic biomass heating (and other renewable heat technologies) will be introduced in July 2011 and be available for new appliances installed since 15 July 2009.

The scheme aims to stimulate a considerable uptake of renewable heating within the commercial and public sector, with up to 25% of all heating in this sector expected to come from renewable sources by 2020; equivalent to 110,000 installations. A further 13,000 industrial installations are expected to utilise renewable heat by 2020.

The RHI tariff scheme is expected to run alongside the existing Renewables Obligation and Feed in Tariff scheme. Tariffs will be paid for 20 years. claims must be supported by metering data and will be paid on a two tier basis.

Domestic households

RHI tariff payments for domestic installations will be introduced in October 2012 to run alongside the Green Deal. In addition, interim RHI Premium Payments of around £950 per installation will be introduced in July 2011 to encourage consumers to install biomass boilers prior to the introduction of the domestic RHI in October 2012.

Tariff payments will again be available to equipment installed since July 2009. There will be clear eligibility criteria including a well insulated home, as indicated by its energy performance certificate. Further details are expected to be announced in May 2011.

Expected tariff details

Tariff Capacity Tier 1 Tier 2 Duration
Small biomass Under 200kW 7.6p/kWh 1.9p/kWh 20 years
Medim biomass 200KW-999kW 4.7p/kWh 1.9p/kWh 20 years
Large biomass 1000kW up 1.0p/kWh 20 years

N.B. the tier break is calculated from the installed capacity multiplied by 1,314 peak load hours (KWth x 1,314).

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News index

RHI summary: -

  • Non-domestic RHI available from July 2011.
  • Domestic RHI available from October 2012.
  • Interim RHI Premium Payment available from July 2011 for domestic installations.
  • Installations commissioned since 15 July 2009 qualify.
  • Payments of up to 7.6p per kWh to smaller systems.
  • Metering data or specific eligibity criteria required to support payment claims.
  • Tariffs to be paid for 20 years.

Renewable energy targets

“The UK has signed up to the EU Renewable Energy Directive which includes a UK target of 15 percent of energy from renewables by 2020.

"This target is equivalent to a seven-fold increase in UK renewable energy consumption from 2008 levels: the most challenging of any EU Member State. While such an increase is ambitious, and will be challenging, we are fully committed to meeting the target.”

UK Government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) website