UK's DECC delays launch of Renewable Heat Incentive

By Lisa Gibson | October 04, 2011

The U.K.’s Renewable Heat Incentive will launch up to two months later than planned, following concerns from the European Commission regarding the tariff level for large biomass technologies.

When the program made its way through Parliament in July, it was still subject to approval from the European Commission. The U.K.’s Department of Energy and Climate Change was ready to launch the first step of the program, dealing with nondomestic generators, Sept. 30. But the commission came back to the DECC with an approval hindering on a reduction of the tariff for large biomass technologies, currently proposed at 2.7 pence (4 cents) per kilowatt hour. That means the RHI will need to be amended and submitted again to parliament for approval.

“So this is a big disappointment,” said a DECC spokesperson.

The RHI program offers long-term support to compensate for capital and operating costs, as well as additional barriers and financial costs, for thermal technologies classed as renewable under the Renewable Energy Directive. Support will be distributed in the form of tariffs based on technology and size.

"We are fully committed to introducing the Renewable Heat Incentive,” another spokesperson said. “However, we understand that the European Commission state aid approval for the RHI will be subject to a reduction in the large biomass tariff. We expect to receive written confirmation of this very shortly. This means we now need to change the regulations before the scheme can open to applications. We understand this is frustrating for industry who are already gearing up for the RHI however we hope to get this sorted out soon and open the scheme before the end of November.”