UK BEIS provides COVID-19 extensions to non-domestic RHI projects

By Erin Voegele | July 01, 2020

The U.K. government has announced that applicants to the non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive scheme will have an extra 14 months to complete projects delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The government also confirmed that a third allocation will open for new applications in July and announced a 12-month extension of the domestic RHI.

Information released by the U.K. Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy explains that companies that applied to the non-domestic RHI before June 29 will have an extra 14 months to get their low-carbon heat generators up and running. The BEIS said the extension will provide clarity to companies in danger of missing the start-dates for their projects, protect investment in the renewable heat industry, and help give certainty to people working in specialized U.K. supply chains.

Under the original timeline, non-domestic RHI projects were to be up and running by January 2021 to be eligible for the second allocation of tariff guarantees. That deadline has now been extended through March 2022.

The BEIS also announced a third allocation of flexible tariff guarantees will open for the non-domestic RHI later this month, likely on July 20, and run concurrently to the second allocation of flexible tariff guarantee. In addition, the government has extended the domestic RHI for one year, through March 31, 2022.

In April, the BEIS opened a public consultation on successor schemes to the RHI, including the Clean Heat Grant Scheme, Green Gas Support Scheme, and Green Heat Networks Fund. That consultation is open through July 7.

The U.K. Renewable Energy Association issued a statement in response to the BEIS’s announcement. “The decision to extend the Tariff Guarantee Scheme shows strong leadership from the Government when it comes to deploying larger scale heat decarbonization projects,” said Nina Skorupska, chief executive of the REA. “Reviewing the scheme in light of the impact of Covid-19 and adapting it is exactly the type of governance needed if we are to bounce back from the lockdown whilst adhering to our legally binding Net Zero targets.

“Despite this, the announcement rings bittersweet for a number of those in the heat sector,” Skorupska continued. “Choosing not to extend the Non-Domestic RHI further alienates a number of renewable heat technologies and projects that are already facing a twelve-month policy gap. Unless supported, potential for growth in renewable heat will be undermined and the already established sector at risk of financial collapse and loss of jobs.”

Additional information is available on the BEIS website.