The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)

I make no apology for writing to you again about the Renewable Heat Incentive. In the recent statement on Feed-In Tariffs by Energy Secretary Chris Huhne, it was announced that the Department for Energy & Climate Change "hope to publish next month measures to support renewable heat".

This is the latest in a series of delays to a publication date that was originally promised for November, then December, January, February and now it is March. This continually moving date is sapping the confidence of potential investors.

The Government has promised to introduce the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) this summer, but we still do not know the details of the mechanism. Numerous projects are on hold, with recruitment frozen in many companies and other companies having to lay-off staff. Uncertainty and delay is damaging the industry and the prospects for the rapid development of green heat.

It is vital for the UK to develop its renewable heat sector. Half of our final energy consumption is for heat. We cannot adequately reduce our dependence on imported fossil fuels, nor meet our carbon-reduction obligations, without a substantial contribution from renewable heat. We have seen heating oil prices double in some areas in the last few months as the price of wood pellets stayed constant. We urgently need alternative fuel sources to address fuel poverty in rural communities. Holding back on renewable heat is a false economy.

The Government is to be congratulated for having committed to putting renewable heat on a more equal footing with renewable electricity and transport. But through these repeated delays, the Government is in danger of undermining its own good intentions. We call on the Government to publish its proposals for renewable heating without further delay.

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