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Industry association calls on DECC to review RHI level for biomethane

An industry association has appealed to the Department for Energy and Climate Change to review the level of support for putting biomethane into the national grid under the Renewable Heat Incentive, due to come into effect in April 2011.

The Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association has presented DECC with a case for increased RHI support as it believes there will not be sufficient investment in biomethane at the current proposed rate of 4p/kWh.

The reason that ADBA gives for this proposed increase is that biomethane upgrade and injection is a new technology in the UK and currently involves higher capital and operational cost than combined heat and power. It therefore requires a higher level of support than that suggested by DECC to make it financially viable to developers.

Following extensive consultation with its members ADBA has proposed two levels of support for biomethane within the RHI. These are 9p/kWh for the first 1MW (thermal) capacity and 6p/kWh thereafter.

Additionally, ABDA also believes that an extra level of support is required initially to overcome reluctance within the UK market that exists around investing in an untried technology. So it is calling for a further 25% premium to be included for the first 2TWh of gas upgrade capacity to allow a rapid uptake of technology which will in turn lead to standardisation and reduced cost.

ADBA chairman Lord Redesdale said: “If we are to have an anaerobic digestion (AD) industry in this country to meet DECC’s targets for renewable energy and reduction of greenhouse gases, it is vital that the RHI is set at a level that will make AD viable and sustainable.”

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