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UK extension of non-domestic RHI scheme welcomed by biomass industry

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UK biomass heat leaders have welcomed the government’s decision to extend the non-domestic renewable heat incentive (RHI) scheme.

The UK Government and the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will extend the non-domestic RHI for a further 12 months from March 2021.

Representatives from the UK Pellet Council and Biomass Heat Works! are ‘fully supportive’ of the move, which, in light of the current economic conditions, aims to help UK organisations including care homes, hospitals, food and agricultural producers, manufacturers, and the public sector, continue with renewable energy projects as part of the road map to net-zero.

The extension means that firms that had to delay renewable energy projects due to COVID-19, including biomass heat installations, will now have more time to complete them.

The extension will only apply to commercial enterprises with installation projects already in progress, although the qualification criteria has been expanded in this latest announcement. Biomass Heat Works! believes this will bridge a temporary one-year gap, in line with the domestic RHI, for both the client as well as hundreds of supply chain companies, giving some reassurance to projects over the forthcoming year.

Mark Lebus, chairman of the UK Pellet Council, said: “This latest news by the government is very much welcomed by the biomass heat industry and is one that will provide some level of reassurance and support during what has become a very uncertain time.

“We have worked continuously and closely with government officials and various departments, particularly BEIS, over the last year to discuss the sector, its huge potential, and to provide feedstock on proposed policy, therefore, we are pleased that this 12 month amendment has been made in the short-term.

“Heat decarbonisation, especially in rural, non-urban areas, has become one of the most challenging aspects of UK net-zero policy with biomass heat, a part of a technology-neutral mix, having the potential to create more green jobs, a greener economy, and significantly reduce carbon emissions for the majority of off-grid households and businesses.

“We hope to continue working closely with BEIS to create a clear and positive path forward for biomass heat, especially where it is identified to be the most suitable solution for homes and commercial buildings.”