Nondomestic RHI qualifies 800 MW biomass capacity from launch

By Anna Simet | July 02, 2014

The U.K. Department of Energy and Climate change has released Renewable Heating Incentive and Renewable Heat Premium Payment data for May.

The Renewable Heating Incentive is a U.K. government environmental program that provides financial incentives to increase the production and use of renewable heat, and includes separate programs for the domestic and nondomestic sectors. For the nondomestic sector, it provides a subsidy, payable for 20 years, to eligible, nondomestic renewable heat generators and producers of biomethane for injection based in the country.

The non-domestic RHI is open to industrial, commercial, public sector and nonprofit organizations with eligible installations, and to producers of biomethane. Examples of qualifying projects include small businesses, hospitals, schools and district heating projects where one boiler serves multiple homes.

Released on a monthly basis, DECC RHI data includes the number of applications and accredited installations on the RHI to date. Figures are broken down by technology type, region and application status, and includes tables on the total capacity and heat generated.

Since the launch of the nondomestic RHI in November 2011 through May, capacity of accredited small, solid biomass boilers has reached 423.1 MW. Medium, solid biomass boilers account for 265.9 MW of new capacity, and 107 MW for large, solid biomass boilers. Biogas was at 0.4 MW, and biomethane remained at 0.

Since early April, the U.K. added 39 MW of accredited capacity from small, solid biomass boilers, 13.9 MW of accredited capacity from medium, solid biomass boilers, and accredited capacity of large, solid biomass boilers remained the same as the month prior. Between April 9 and May 31, 87 biomass applications were received, and 38 installations became accredited.

An accredited installation is defined as a system that has submitted an application and has gone through full checks by program administrator Ofgem’s E-serve to make sure that it complies with the relevant conditions.

Since the launch of the nondomestic RHI, 2,805 small biomass boilers are receiving payment; or 81 percent of overall projects funded by the program, 412 medium solid biomass boiler projects or 12 percent of total payments, and 17 large biomass boiler projects or 0.5 percent of payments. Solar thermal, small and large water or ground source heat pumps, and biomethane and biogas accounted for the remaining 6.6 percent of project payments.

South West England leads in the number of accredited installations to date at 855, followed by Scotland at 744, and West Midlands England at 500.

For the domestic RHI, which was launched April 9 and replaced the Renewable Heat Premium Payment program, 286 biomass applications became accredited between then and May 31, 38 of which installed systems after the program was launched. According to the report, 125 additional applications are in review.

The RHHP provided a one-time grant designed to help towards meeting the costs of installing renewable technologies in homes—biomass systems were granted £2,000 ($3,430). It was replaced by the domestic RHI, which provides homeowners with quarterly payment for seven years. Under the program, biomass boiler and stoves receive 12.2 pence (21 cents) per kilowatt hour of renewable heat produced.