Implementation Impediment

The U.K.’s DECC has delayed the launch of its RHI program.
By Lisa Gibson | November 01, 2011

The U.K.’s Renewable Heat Incentive will launch two months later than planned, following concerns from the European Commission about 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 on Sept. 30. But the commission came back to the DECC with an approval that hinges on a reduction of the tariff for large biomass technologies, currently proposed at 2.7 pence per kilowatt hour. That means the RHI will need to be amended and submitted again to Parliament for approval.

The RHI program offers long-term support to compensate for capital and operating costs, as well as to remove additional barriers and ease financial costs, for thermal technologies classed as renewable under the U.K.’s 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 DECC spokesperson says. “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.”

—Lisa Gibson