Biomass sector urges Decc to ‘quickly re-examine’ RHI reforms

The biomass industry has called on the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to re-examine its proposed reforms to the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) set out last month.

At a conference on the future of renewable heat, biomass supplier Billington Bioenergy’s strategy director Ed Billington said the reforms had given the industry “major causes for concern”.

“The first is that the reforms are built on some assumptions that we simply don’t recognise,” he said. “The second is that biomass is somehow a transition and not a strategic technology. This does not reflect the experience throughout the rest of the world.

“The third assumption that was made is that biomass is not cost effective.”

Billington said that the current RHI will affect millions of rural customers by “defectively locking them into only fossil fuels for the foreseeable future”.

“We think it is critical that Decc quickly re-examines these assumptions… before they head off into the wrong direction and quite possibly into a dead end,” he said.

The Energy Technologies Institute’s (ETI) head of economic strategy George Day also highlighted the importance of biomass in the heat sector, stating that potential savings from using biomass for energy effectively is more than 1 per cent of GDP.

Decc said the reforms, which it set out at the beginning of March, would “rebalance” deployment and spending in support of various technologies supported by the scheme. The first changes are due to be implemented this month.

Saffron Johnson

This article first appeared in edie’s sister publication, Utility Week

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