Biomass Sustainability Requirements

Sustainability criteria for the Dobsl_logomestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) have been introduced by the Department of Energy and Climate Change to ensure all installations using biomass fuels meet the government’s environmental objectives. Consumers receiving Domestic RHI payments for biomass stove or boiler installations, or those thinking of applying for the scheme, will need to meet these sustainability requirements from 5 October 2015. This means using an approved sustainable fuel from a supplier listed on the Biomass Suppliers List.

A bit of history…

At the launch of the RHI in November 2011, there were no mandatory sustainability criteria for solid biomass used for heat generation. However, The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) were concerned that without some criteria ensuring that the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions of biomass are below a defined level, the RHI could:

  • Be subsidising unsustainable biomass that delivers little or no carbon savings on a life -cycle basis; and
  • Sometimes lead to even higher emissions relative to heat from fossil fuels.

To protect against this, they included standardising the July 2013 Domestic RHI policy documentation ensure biodiversity and other environmental impacts are protected, as well as contributing to DECC’s legally binding target to supply 15% of total energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020. These standards were then included in the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive Regulation Amendments 2015.

The Biomass Suppliers List was launched on the 30th April 2014 and it covers four types of wood fuel: pellets, briquettes, wood chip and firewood (logs). Consumers can search for accredited suppliers using the website search at Additional search filters allow consumers to search by accreditation, including Woodsure and Enplus.

Suppliers can register for free at

Self Supply?

Consumers using logs or other waste wood from their own property as fuel in their biomass boiler can register on the BSL as a self-supplier. This is free to do and means they will be provided with their own personal fuel authorisation number (format BSL-1234567-1234) which they will be asked to provide each year as part of the ‘annual declaration’. Consumers who mainly use wood from their own property, but occasionally buy roundwood (or other raw wood) from another source to process can also register on the BSL, but as a ‘producer-trader’.

To find out more visit the BSL Consumer FAQ page or contact the BSL Helpdesk on 020 7090 7769 or email

For Biomass Sustainability FAQ’s click here.

REA RHI Roadshow

Renewable Energy AssociationThe Renewable Energy Association (REA) will be running a series of seminars to explain how the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive can help you, whether you are a company planning to supply or install the eligible technologies, a building service engineer, a social landlord, a heating consultant or anyone wandering exactly how the scheme works.

How can the Renewable Heat Incentive benefit my business? (Birmingham)

This seminar takes place in Birmingham on Wednesday 25th June and will be followed by a number of regional events, with dates to be announced.

Everything you need to know about the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI):

  • How it works?
  • What systems are eligible?
  • What are the business opportunities and a whole lot more . . .

The introduction of the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive on 9th April 2014 for the first time allows householders to be paid for generating heat from renewable sources. As a result we expect a significant upturn in the demand for renewable heat systems leading to a rapid expansion of the supply chain.

The first REA event will take place in Birmingham where you will learn key aspects of the policy including an overview of the technologies covered and how the policy will support their growth.

Speakers include those implementing the scheme from DECC, Ofgem, MCS and RECC as well as industry experts who will be highlighting the opportunities and sharing their insights into what the policy means for the sector.

This event is a must for anybody active in the renewable heat sector, equipment suppliers and their supply chain, heat appliance installers, building energy consultants, social landlords and anyone else who is thinking about the new opportunities the scheme provides.


09.30 – 10.00 Registration
10.00 – 10.10 Introduction Mike Landy, REA
10.10 – 10.30 Overview of and background to the Domestic RHI Lucy Longstaff, DECC
10.30 – 10.55 The RHI application procedure. Ofgem’s role and guidance Keith Horgan, Ofgem
10.55 – 11.10 Changes to MCS to accommodate the Domestic RHI (standards, compliance certificates, competency requirements, size limits, etc.) Gideon Richard, MCS
11.10 – 11.20 Open discussion / questions
11.20 – 11.40 Break
11.40 – 12.05 Opportunities for biomass and heat pumps in the Domestic RHI David Rae, Innasol
12.05 – 12.25 Opportunities for solar thermal in the Domestic RHI Stuart Elmes, Viridian
12.25 – 12.45 Ensuring protection for the Domestic RHI consumer Virginia Graham, RECC
12.45 – 13.00 Open discussion / questions
13.00 – 13.30 Lunch

Costings are as follows:

REA Members £150 + VAT
RECC Members £170 + VAT
REA Non Members £200 + VAT

You can book online now or download a booking form on the REA website.

REA was established in 2001 as a not-for-profit trade association, representing British renewable energy producers and promoting the use of renewable energy in the UK. REA helps our members build commercially and environmentally sustainable businesses whilst increasing the contribution of renewable energy to the UK’s electricity, heat, transport and green gas needs. Find out more by visiting the REA website.

BSL Engagement Events

bsl_logoFollowing the launch of the RHI Biomass Suppliers List (BSL) on 30 April 2014 to applications from producers and traders of woodfuel, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is planning a series of engagements aimed at promoting the BSL, and enabling producers, traders and self-suppliers to make their applications. DECC would welcome your participation in these engagements, and would also be very grateful if you could pass on this message to your contacts who may be interested.

 The programme includes:

 Webchat, Thursday 22 May

DECC will host a webchat to provide an opportunity for suppliers and other stakeholders to find out more about the Biomass Suppliers List. Further information on how to participate in the webchat, including a web link, will be circulated nearer the time. In the meantime, please let us know if you are interested by emailing

 A programme of supplier focused workshops

These workshops will give attendees an overview of the Biomass Suppliers List, as well as a change to ask detailed questions and receive practical information about the applications process.

Workshops will be held across the UK as follows:

  •  Cardiff, Thursday 29 May, 1pm – 5pm – Cardiff University, Birchwood House
  •  London, Friday 30 May, 9am – 1pm – Department of Energy and Climate Change, 3 Whitehall Place
  •  Edinburgh, Tuesday 3 June, 12.30 – 4.30pm – Queen Margaret University

If you would like to attend one of these workshops, please email by Wednesday 21 May, stating your name, organisation and job title.

Places at the workshops are limited, and will be allocated on a first come first served basis. We would also ask that you limit requests for places to one person per organisation, in order to allow other organisations to attend. The content will be the same for all three workshops, so we do not advise attending more than one. Joining instructions and a more detailed agenda will be provided to confirmed attendees nearer the time.

Woodfuel suppliers can now register as a biomass supplier at


Biomass Suppliers List Launched

Register your biomass fuel as sustainable

From today, woodfuel suppliers will be able to register their fuels as sustainable by applying to the Biomass Suppliers List (BSL). This is a first for the UK biomass sector and a major milestone in ensuring biomass supported under the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is sustainable.

The BSL will help develop the growing market for renewable heat providing opportunities throughout the supply chain.

Producers and traders of woodfuel who wish to access the growing RHI market can apply for free to the BSL [][1]. Small and micro enterprises will be able to use a new simple carbon calculator developed to make the process as easy as possible for small businesses.

Larger enterprises will be able to use the UK Solid and Gaseous Biomass and Biogas Carbon Calculator [] to calculate the GHG emissions associated with their fuel. Individuals and businesses that self-supply their own fuel are also encouraged to register as ‘self-supplier’[2] as soon as possible.

From Autumn 2014 all biomass fuel used by households, businesses and other organisations claiming the RHI must meet a lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions target of 60 per cent and GHG savings against the EU fossil fuel average.[3]

The BSL was developed and will be run by Gemserv, partnering with Woodsure, HETAS and Borough IT.

For support on applications you can contact Gemserv. Click here for contact details.


[1] Producers and producer-traders should apply as early as possible. Traders may wish to encourage their producers to apply to the list before making their own applications, as this is likely to make it easier for traders to apply.

[2] RHI participants will be able to register on the Biomass Suppliers List (BSL) as a ‘self-supplier’ if their installation is less than 1MWth capacity, and if they source fuel from the same estate as the boiler. Self-suppliers will also be able to source waste woodfuel from outside their estate for use in their installation. For the purposes of self-supply in the BSL, an estate comprises the buildings and supporting land and woods that is owned by, or has the legal rights to source from, one person, a family, an organisation, a single farm business or a commercial business. The land and buildings may or may not be contiguous but should be within reasonable distance of the boiler. A reasonable distance is defined as follows: the biomass source must be within 50 miles of the boiler.

[3] The public facing list of authorised fuels will be made available to consumers once a sufficient proportion of traders have registered their fuels and their applications have been processed. We expect this to be later this Spring, although it will depend on the rate and distribution of applications, and will ensure the public facing List is made available sufficiently ahead of the regulations coming into force.

RHI Emissions Certificates

RHI EC ListIn March 2011 the Government published its policy for the non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), including the intention to introduce air quality emission limits for biomass boilers (including CHP) that participate in the scheme. Proposed limits were first published for consultation in 2010. These limits were confirmed with the maximum permitted emissions being 30 grams per gigajoule (g/GJ) net heat input for particulate matter and 150g/GJ for NOx.

To be eligible for both the domestic and non-domestic schemes, biomass products must comply with emissions limits as outlined above. Evidence of compliance must be in the form of a vaild emissions certificate. Alternatively, for the non-domestic RHI, an environmental permit for the site is allowed.

A dedicated website of products that are covered by RHI emissions certificates is now available at The website is administered by HETAS. Contact HETAS for further guidance on Air Quality Requirements and EC-Listing on or call 01684 278170.

Ofgem, the scheme administrator for both the domestic and non-domestic RHI has produced a template emissions certiifcate which can be used for both schemes, but will be assessed separately against the requirement of each scheme. These templates are available at Alternatively, contact HETAS for further guidance.

If your product is not already covered by a vaild RHI emissions certifcate you should:

  1. View the template certificate and read the guidance –
  2. Arrange for an authorised testing laboratory to perform the required assessment of your product
  3. Ensure the testing laboratory completes the template emissions certificate in accordance with the guidance set out on it

With the domestic RHI due to be launched over the coming week the Department of Energy & Climate Change, Ofgem and HETAS are urging manufacturers to get their certificates sorted now. At present, only around 25 manufacturers have their appliances listed on the RHI EC website. Please contact HETAS for further guidance on Air Quality Requirements and EC-Listing on or call 01684 278170.


DECC Domestic RHI Roadshow

To help businesses, installers and consumers to find out more about the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) will be attending a series of property and renewable energy roadshows this spring. At the DECC RHI Roadshows, attendees will also be able to find out how the domestic RHI and the Green Deal will work together to ensure that all participants benefit from having a smarter, warmer home.

The domestic RHI scheme is for home-owners and private and social landlords who want to install renewable heating systems in their homes in England, Wales and Scotland. It will provide long term financial support for property owners who install renewable heating systems and is due to be launched in the spring. It will mark a milestone in energy efficiency as it will be the first time every building in the country will be able to take advantage of financial incentives to install renewable heat technologies. Find out more about the domestic RHI on the dedicated HETAS page by clicking here.

You’ll be able to find the DECC Domestic RHI Roadshow  at the following events:

  • Regen SW Renewable Energy Marketplace – 8th April – Westpoint Arena, Exeter
  • RHI Roadshow (North Wales) – 30th April – Venue Cymru, Llandudno
  • RHI Roadshow (West Wales) – 1st May – Park Hotel, Aberystwyth
  • RHI Roadshow (South Wales) – 2nd May – Village Hotel, Swansea
  • Greenbuild Expo – 7th & 8th May – Manchester Central, Manchester
  • Homebuilding & Renovating Show – 17th & 18th May – SECC, Glasgow
  • All Energy Expo – 21st & 22nd May – Exhibition Centre, Aberdeen
  • Energy Environment Expo – 17-19th June – ExCeL, London
  • Eco Technology Show – 26th & 27th June – The Brighton Centre, Brighton
  • Homebuilding & Renovating Show – 28th &29th June – Sandown Park, Surrey

You’ll also find HETAS at the Greenbuild Expo in Manchester.

More information about the RHI schemes is available online, or for the domestic RHI scheme contact:

  • pre-application enquiries by Energy Saving Advice Service in England & Wales: 0300 123 1234
  • for Scotland contact Home Energy Scotland: 0808 808 2282

For more information about the non-domestic RHI scheme contact:

  • Ofgem e-serve: 0845 200 2122

Bioenergy Sustainability Regulations Seminar

Renewable Energy Association logoThe Renewable Energy Association (REA) are hosting a one day seminar on Thursday 1st May 2014 on Bioenergy Sustainability Regulations. Government are implementing tough, new bioenergy sustainability regulations for solid and gaseous biomass which will have a major impact on the sector and this seminar intends to cover the key issues.

Sustainability criteria for both the Renewables Obligation (RO) and the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) have been laid out by Government and is due to be implemented in the coming months. From Spring 2014, bioenergy in the RO will need to report against these criteria, and in the case of the RHI, will not be supported unless it meets the new rules. This seminar will cover topics including implementation of sustainability criteria (including sustainable forestry management) in the RO and the RHI (including the biomass suppliers list), as well as sustainability under the EMR regime.

Seminar Programme

10.00 – 10.30      Registration opens

10.30 – 10.40      Introduction by Paul/Frank (and Burges Salmon)

10.40 – 11.00      RO Sustainability Criteria, Rebecca Cowburn (DECC)

11.00 – 11.30      RHI biomass sustainability criteria and the Biomass Suppliers List, Pippa Morgan (DECC)

11.30 – 12.00      Practicalities of Demonstrating Compliance with Sustainability Criteria for Solid and Gaseous Biomass, Tobin Gordon (SGS UK)

12.00 – 12.30      Industry Panel Discussion – Challenges and Opportunities for Industry regarding the RO and RHI sustainability regulations

Max Aitken (Estover Energy) Invited
Nigel Burdett (Drax) – confirmed
Richard Smith (Verdo Renewables) Invited

12.30                      Q&A

13.30                      Lunch and Networking


REA members: £150 + VAT
Non-members: £200 + VAT
Lunch and refreshments are included

The event takes place at 6 New Street Square, London, EC4A 3BF and tickets can be booked through the REA website.

About the REA

The REA was established in 2001, as a not-for-profit trade association, representing British renewable energy producers and promoting the use of renewable energy in the UK. Its membership also includes composters, following the merger of the Association for Organics Recycling (formerly the Composting Association) in 2013. The REA endeavours to achieve the right regulatory framework for renewables and organics waste recycling to deliver an increasing contribution to the UK’s electricity, heat, recycling and transport needs.

The REA’s main objective is to secure the best legislative and regulatory framework for expanding renewable energy production in the UK. They also seek to ensure that organics recycling (where process outputs are also a significant feedstock for renewable energy generation via anaerobic digestion) is maximised. They undertake policy development and provide input to government departments, agencies, regulators, NGOs and others.

Find out more about the REA, including membership, by visiting the REA website at

Condensing Biomass Boilers qualify for domestic RHI

mcs_logoThe Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) has announced that condensing biomass boilers will be eligible for the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) which is due to launch in spring 2014.

The final domestic RHI policy was published in July 2013 and biomass boilers were initially excluded from the policy. This decision was subject to the result of tests being undertaken on behalf of the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) to assess the potential impact on water quality of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs*) being emitted in the condensate of this type of boiler. Defra has now confirmed that while a small amount of PAHs are released in the condensate from condensing biomass  boilers the levels should not pose a significant threat to the aquatic environment once they have been through waste water treatment.

As a result the Government are content to extend the domestic RHI eligibility to condensing biomass boilers, provided they meet the other criteria of the scheme. This will apply to eligible condensing biomass boilers installed between 15th July 2009 and the launch of the scheme in spring 2014 and those installed after the launch of the scheme. HETAS has been instrumental in providing support to both DECC, Defra and appliance manufacturers during the research period. HETAS provide Microgeneration Certification product approval for biomass appliances. To find out more about the policy changes or to enquire about product approval with HETAS, please contact Brian Bailey on, or call 01242 682042.MCSProduct PD

You can find MCS biomass products approved by HETAS using the search facility at

To read the full article please visit the DECC website by clicking here.

*PAHs are products of incomplete fuel burning and are categorised as priority hazardous substances under the EU Water Framework Directive.