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RHI Consultation outcomes published

Posted: 14 December, 2016. Written by Mark

The Government have this afternoon published the outcome of the consultation on reforms to the RHI mechanism. Read the Full Consultation ResponseAll changes will be made effective spring/summer 2017.

Domestic Scheme:
- Solar thermal has been reintroduced to the RHI (both domestic and non-domestic).

- Heat demand limits will be introduced, to limit the level of annual heat demand in respect of which any household can receive support. The heat demand limits will be set at 20,000kWh for ASHPs, 25,000kWh for biomass boilers and stoves and 30,000kWh for GSHPs. However, this will not disqualify properties with higher heat demands from applying to the scheme. There will be no heat demand limit for solar thermal.

- The tariff for new biomass installations will be increased to 6.44p/kWh, the level available between October and December 2015, adjusted for inflation.

- Tariffs for new ASHPs and GSHPs will be increased to 10.02 pence per kilowatthour (p/kWh) and 19.55p/kWh respectively.

- All new ASHPs and GSHPs applying for support under the scheme will be required to have electricity metering to monitor their heating system. However, payments will continue to be on the basis of the deemed heating requirements of the property, except for second homes and where a renewable heating system is installed alongside another heating system, in which cases payments will continue to be on the basis of heat metering.

- There will be some changes to the budget management arrangements for the scheme.

- Assignment of rights: will not be introduced in this package, instead further work will be done and changes made at a later date.

Non-domestic scheme:
- The three current non-domestic biomass tariff bands will be replaced with a single tariff, which will be subject to tiering. The Tier 1 tariff will be set at 2.91p/kWh and the Tier 2 tariff at 2.05p/kWh. Each plant will have a tier threshold equivalent to a 35% load factor.

- Tariff guarantees will be introduced for non-domestic: large biomass boilers (above 1MW in capacity); large biogas plant (above 600kW); GSHPs (above 100kW, including shared ground loop systems with a total installed capacity above 100kW); and all capacities of biomethane, biomass-CHP and deep geothermal plant. However, the amount of heat that will be covered by a single tariff guarantee to 250GWh per annum, or for biomethane, the equivalent volume of injection.

- The Biomethane tariffs will be reset to the levels seen in April-June 2016; this will be implemented for April 2017. As such Tariffs will be: Tier 1 – 5.35p/kWh; Tier 2 – 3.14p/kWh; Tier 3 – 2.42p/kWh.

- Biogas: the tariff level will be maintained at the current levels (4.43p/kWh for small scale; 3.47p/kWh for medium and 1.30p/kWh for large). Any degressions which impact on the biogas tariffs between now and the date the regulations come into force will be reversed on that date back to current levels.

Cap on feedstock from crops
- New biogas / biomethane plants will only receive support for all biomethane produced or heat generated from biogas if at least 50% of the biogas or biomethane is derived from feedstocks that are wastes or residues. This will be done on an annual basis, with reconcilliations, and will be confirmed as part of the annual sustainability audit for plants over 1MW. For smaller plant “Government will review participants’ compliance with the requirements and introduce additional measures as necessary.”

Other technologies
- No change to air or ground source heat pump support in non-domestic scheme
- No change to biomass CHP
- Geothermal: no changes to tariffs and eligibility for tariff guarantees introduced