UK invests in renewable heating engineer skillsets, social homes

By Anna Simet | November 01, 2013

In order to prepare for the upcoming launch of its domestic Renewable Heat Incentive program, the U.K. has made available £500,000 ($800,000) to help expand and maintain expertise amongst the country’s renewable heating engineers.

The U.K. Department of Energy and Climate Change said the RHI training support program is aimed at raising the skillset of domestic heating engineers to enable them to install and maintain renewable heating systems. Funds will be distributed via a voucher program backed up by an apprenticeship initiative that will encourage people coming into the industry to develop the necessary expertise to work on domestic renewable heating systems and gain relevant qualification credits, according to the DECC.

U.K. Energy Secretary Edward Davey said the DECC’s research shows that too often, engineers are only able to talk about what they are most familiar with, which is usually gas or oil-fired boilers. “By taking advantage of these training vouchers, these engineers will be able to extend their advice to renewable heating options ahead of the introduction of the domestic Renewable Heat Initiative in spring next year,” he said.

Depending on the results of the program, DECC said it may increase funding and support for the supply chain.

In related news, landlords of 57 social living complexes across Great Britain were awarded a share of £5 million to install renewable heating, as part of this year’s second round of the DECC’s Renewable Heat Premium Payment Social Landlords competition.

“Renewable heating kit like heat pumps and biomass boilers can help keep homes warm and bills down, so it’s great that social landlords will be getting cash to help get over 2,100 renewable heating technologies into the homes of their tenants,” said Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker.

Bids for funding were scored on a range of criteria including value for money, fuel to be replaced, additional energy efficiency measures to be installed and plans to work with local communities, according to the DECC. Winning projects offer the best value for money and mix of renewable heat technologies to be installed.