Government commitment questioned as domestic RHI delayed for another year
The implementation of the struggling Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme for domestic properties has been further delayed by a year.
DECC has today published an update on the progress of the UK's first heat strategy, one year on from its launch. It includes the news that the Government will publish the tariff levels for domestic RHI this summer and it is expected that the scheme will be up and running for householders in spring 2014.
Giving evidence to the Energy and Climate Change Committee just hours before the announcement, delegates from the industry agreed that it was imperative the Government moved quickly to implement the RHI for domestic properties.
They argued that delays in implementing the RHI scheme, caused by a change of government, had already affected the deployment of commercial RHI, by limiting the number of companies interested.
Ground source heat pump company Kensa Engineering's managing director Simon Lomax said that further delays could lead to a stall in the market and that the ground source heat pump business could cease to exist. In addition, he said a delay would put the Government's 2020 renewables targets under threat.
Lomax argued that the RHI scheme was "fundamentally flawed" because it tried to cover too diverse a range of technologies, he also claimed the tariff calculator rewarded the least efficient technologies because their running costs were lower.
Micropower Council's chief executive Dave Sowden added: "The announcement of a delay would be unhelpful; it would be a further knocking of confidence about whether government is really serious about renewable heat deployment."
However Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker defended the delay, maintaining that DECC remained committed to introducing an incentive scheme for householders.
Barker said: "The Renewable Heat Incentive, which has been available for non-domestic investors for over a year, is a key part of our approach to cutting carbon and driving forward the move to more sustainable low carbon heating alternatives.
"So far over 1,000 groups have got on board, and today we have outlined details of our tariff review to help encourage even more organisations to invest."
During the committee meeting, there had been a general consensus among industry delegates that the tariffs for RHI needed to be increased in order to encourage the uptake of the relatively new, low-carbon technologies.