DECC launch renewable heating scheme

A renewable heat scheme has been launched today (15 August) by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to improve heating in social houses and reduce energy costs.

As part of the £3M Renewable Heat Premium Payment budget, registered providers of social housing, such as local authorities and social housing associations will be able to bid for funding to fit eco-heating improvements in tenants’ homes.

The Energy Saving Trust, which is managing the scheme, has invited applicants to bid for funds of up to £175,000 per housing provider. Heating equipment such as biomass boilers, solar hot water panels and heat pumps will be available under the scheme.

Under the conditions of the scheme, the funding should be then used to finance at least 17 social housing projects and bid will be evaluated by a panel of experts, who will judge on value for money, the number of individual eco-heaters installed, the opportunity for learning and the number of homes not supplied by mains gas.

Energy and Climate Change minister Greg Barker said rising gas and electricity costs is likely to encourage more people to switch to more sustainable forms.

He said: “In the face of rising gas and electricity bills, the Premium Payment scheme is a valuable way for people to get involved in energy generation at a local level, insulating them from volatile fossil fuel costs and ensuring homes are heated in a greener, more sustainable way.”

The £3M allocated to the scheme by the DECC has been ring-fenced from the £15M Renewable Heat Premium payment budget.

CPL Distribution, a wood pellet for biomass provider, chief executive, Tim Minett, called the decision to ring-fence the £3M for social providers an “excellent idea as reliable renewable heating sources such as biomass can substantially reduce bills among those most at risk of fuel poverty.”

He added: “The other impact of this decision is that individual homeowners who are also looking to lower their bills by going green are now competing for a reduced Premium Payments pot of £12M. The money is allocated to eligible homeowners on a first-come, first-served basis, so the advice for anyone thinking about applying is to act now to avoid disappointment.”

The deadline for applications is 15 September and successful applicants will be informed at the start of October. Applicants will then have until 31 March 2012 to fit the equipment.

Carys Matthews

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