Crucial RHI reforms risk delay with consultation
The UK’s Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA) has warned that a Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy BEIS consultation risks delaying crucial reforms to the Renewable Heat Incentive.
BEIS is holding a consultation on further amendments to the non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), introduced to bridge the gap between the cost of renewable heating systems and conventional alternatives. The consultation, launched on 5 September and running to 31 October, covers proposals relating to eligible heat uses, very large plants, multiple installations, and rules relating to biomethane plants.
ADBA stresses that this new consultation must not delay the ‘urgent’ passing of legislation to implement previously proposed changes to the RHI which allow new anaerobic digestion (AD) plants to be built.
Included in the new consultation are far-reaching proposals to restrict eligible heat uses and changes to biomethane injection registration, as well as new rules relating to multiple installations and annual production limits that would restrict very large plants.
“It’s critical that this new consultation on the RHI doesn’t delay what the AD industry and the UK as a whole really needs: for the delayed RHI legislation to be passed as soon as possible so that new AD plants can produce clean, renewable biomethane that can help to increase our energy security and decarbonise the gas grid,” said Charlotte Morton, ADBA chief executive.
“We estimate that there are around 20 biomethane projects in development that are waiting for the RHI legislation to be passed in order to receive their tariff guarantee and start construction. There’s a real risk of some of these projects being further delayed or even cancelled if the reforms aren’t implemented very soon, which would not only be a huge waste of time and resource but would also hamper the UK’s ability to meet its short- and long-term renewable energy and climate change targets.”
The latest consultation follows the commitment made in the Government’s response to its 2016 RHI consultation to undertake further detailed work on eligible heat uses and to consult on subsidy limits for very large plants.
However, the Government is yet to pass legislation tabled earlier this year that would reset biogas and biomethane tariffs to previously higher levels and introduce tariff guarantees. According to an ADBA statement, these tariff changes are crucial to the building of new AD plants in the UK.
The new consultation confirms this legislation will be put before Parliament in autumn 2017.