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Renewable Heat Incentive delay disappoints AD industry

A delay deciding whether to provide support for certain anaerobic digestion (AD) projects through the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) has been met with disappointment.

RHI support had been proposed for AD projects with a thermal capacity of over 200kw by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

The department had expected to make a decision this summer, but will now do so in the autumn.

Harry Waters, commercial director of organic waste management company Agrivert, said: “The uncertainty in the various government support has been ongoing for a long time now and the longer it goes on the more difficult it is to attract finance.

“That would be a view that is shared across the industry. A delay is certainly unhelpful.”

However, Waters added that poorly planned incentive schemes can unintentionally hamper development plans, so it was cruical the government got the RHI programme right. 

Charlotte Morton, chief executive of the Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA), said: “Today’s announcement of yet another delay for expanded RHI support for heat use from biogas projects is very disappointing for AD developers and operators.

“Making good use of heat from AD plants makes sense for operators, and will help the government deliver renewable energy targets. The RHI is currently well below its projected budget and another delay will simply make it harder for our members to deliver the projects the government wants to see.”

She added: “DECC could help resolve this by giving developers clarity over the eligibility date, which would allow projects to start generating and using renewable heat if they have commissioned their plant within a set period.”

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