The government has retained its target of 12 percent of heat generated from a renewable source by 2020, an increase from the current 1 percent, and has recognised that the support offered by the RHI will be key in achieving this goal, with more than £850million made available over the spending review period.
Chris Davis, head of business development for Dimplex Renewables and chairman of the BEAMA Domestic Heat Pump Association, says: “We welcome the positive announcement on RHI as a commitment to future development of the renewable heat market. However, while this announcement will restore confidence to the heat pump market, we urgently need clarity now on some of the details of the scheme – funding levels, eligibility criteria and the mechanics of how the scheme is to work all need to be clarified.”
The government’s own 2050 Pathways document published earlier this year largely points towards a future dominated by the increasing electrification of heat and transport, as supplies of fossil fuels decline and new nuclear and renewable generation becomes available. The announcement on the future of the RHI supports this, helping to build a strong market for the take up of technologies such as heat pumps.
To prepare for the demand arising from the RHI, investment in the industry is required to grow installer capacity, warns Chris Davis. “We need to ensure enough installers have the right skills to specify and install technologies such as heat pumps and solar thermal water heating, so the industry has a huge amount of preparation to do to gear up for the launch of the RHI scheme.”
The scheme is anticipated to cover installations across the domestic, industrial and commercial sectors, for a range of renewable heating technologies including air and ground source heat pumps and solar thermal water heating. The support, originally intended to be introduced in April 2010, is now planned for a launch in June 2010 and will now be funded by the Treasury instead of by a Renewable Heat levy on energy bills, as had been consulted on earlier this year.
For more details on the Renewable Heat Incentive, visit www.decc.gov.uk.