The biogas industry has given a cautious welcome to the latest policy statement on an official response to consultation on the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).
The response comes from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), and includes confirmation that the RHI scheme will have a degression-based approach similar to that adopted for Feed-in Tariffs.
This means that tariffs available to new applicants will gradually be reduced if uptake of the technologies supported under the RHI is greater than forecast. Monthly updates on progress towards triggers will be published online, and one month’s notice will be given before any reductions are made. Other change are summarised below.
But the announcement does not contain a commitment sought by the Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA) for would-be developers to obtain accreditation under the scheme before their project gets underway.
Charlotte Morton, ADBA chief executive, left, said: “With tariff degression in place, preliminary accreditation is important and it is disappointing that it has not been brought in at this point.
“Further scheme reviews are a clear risk to certainty, and we believe the RHI instead needs to be given the chance to bed down so that developers can get projects off the ground.”
However, Morton said she hoped that progress could be made in future talks.
Tariff reviews: DECC is committed to scheduled reviews of the non-domestic RHI, currently proposed for 2014 and 2017. It also sets out the conditions under which an earlier review would be undertaken, and confirms that DECC is planning to consult in the spring on changes to some of the tariffs. It is DECC’s intention that where tariffs increase as a result of the current review, installations accredited from 21 January 2013 (the date the possibility of review was published) would benefit from that increase once the new tariffs come into force.
Biomass sustainability: Sustainability requirements will be introduced for existing and new installations using solid biomass as a feedstock. This means that from April 2014, in order to be eligible for the RHI, biomass installations will be required to demonstrate, either through reporting or sourcing from an approved supplier, that their biomass meets a greenhouse gas lifecycle emissions limit target and (from no later than April 2015) land criteria. DECC will work with industry through the course of 2013 to promote early reporting on a voluntary basis and to develop the ‘approved suppliers’ approach.
Air quality requirements: Will form part of the RHI for all solid biomass installations, including CHP installations which burn biomass, and this will apply to new installations only.
Metering: Requirements will be simplified to reflect feedback received from participants and to reduce burdens on industry.