RHI Update | January 2017

Renewable Heat Incentive | RHI Update January 2017

RHI Update: In March 2016, the Government published a consultation on changes to the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme. The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) published its response on the 14th December.

BEIS has announced a tariff increase for three of the eligible renewable heating technology types for the scheme, these being for new air source heat pump (ASHP), ground source heat pump (GSHP) and biomass systems. Applicants to the scheme on or after 14th December 2016 will be eligible for the current tariff rate at the time of applying. They will then be eligible for the increased tariff from the date the amended Domestic RHI Scheme Regulations come into force, this is likely in spring 2017.

Tariff RatesRHI Update

Biomass – Current: 4.21p Uplifted: 6.44p

Air Source – Current: 7.51p Uplifted: 10.02p

Ground Source – Current: 19.33p Uplifted: 19.55p

Click here to view the Ofgem Factsheet: The Domestic RHI -Tariffs and payments.

Heat Demand Limits

Additionally,  the tariff announcement, BEIS is introducing heat demand limits to the Domestic RHI scheme.  In essence this means there will be a limit to the financial support that scheme participants can receive for their heat use annually. Biomass, ASHP and GSHP will have limits applied. Annual heat demand limits are as follows:

ASHP: 20,000kWh

GSHP: 30,000kWh

Biomass: 25,000kWh

There will be no heat demand limit for solar thermal.

For the full consultation response visit the GOV.UK website.

Our dedicated MCS team is on hand to discuss MCS registration with HETAS, contact 01684 278170, option 2 or email registration@hetas.co.uk or for more information on the current RHI and any changes please visit https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/environmental-programmes/domestic-rhi.

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 http://biomass-suppliers-list.service.gov.uk/find-a-fuel. Additional search filters allow consumers to search by accreditation, including Woodsure and Enplus.

Suppliers can register for free at http://biomass-suppliers-list.service.gov.uk.

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 bslhelpdesk@gemserv.com.

For Biomass Sustainability FAQ’s click here.

The Domestic RHI: Case Studies

Pellets on FireJust eleven months into the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive, 25,000 renewable heating systems have been accredited to receive Domestic RHI payments. Ofgem has produced some case studies based on successful RHI applicants. Highlighted here are some of the applicants who are enjoying the benefits of their new biomass systems. You can view these case studies and more on the Ofgem website by clicking here.

Andrew King | Lincoln

We have a detached house in a semi-rural location in Lincolnshire that is off the mains gas grid. Our space and hot water heating was provided by a combination of E7 storage heaters and a few radiators upstairs running on a central heating system powered by bottled LPG. Fuel costs were very high but we were still cold. We looked at a variety of heating types, and in the end we decided to remove the storage heaters and install a wood pellet boiler in a purpose built external boiler house. New wireless heating controls and a thermostat were also installed to run the system. After building the boiler house, the installation of the new boiler had minimal intrusion on the house I’ve had the system installed for nearly a year now, it is simple to operate and will have used 4 tonnes of pellets at a cost of approximately £1000. This has reduced my heating and hot water costs by over 50% with a carbon neutral fuel and we are actually warm as we can afford to have the heating on now. I heard about the Domestic RHI from a colleague at work who was looking to replace his oil fired boiler.

The Domestic RHI application process was simple as it used the data directly from the certificates provided, greatly reducing the amount of information I needed to put in as it already knew my heating requirements.

I regularly recommend biomass boilers to anyone on oil or LPG and have shown several people my installation and explained the Domestic RHI process and basic requirements to them.

Martin Thomson | Cornwall

In spring 2013 we made the decision to look for an alternative to our existing gas boiler which had become totally uneconomic and ineffective. To heat the property to an acceptable standard had become unaffordable. Thoughts of a renewable source of heating were not at the front of our minds but a chance comment made by a friend caused us to investigate. We contacted a local installer with whom we had a very good relationship and after many quotations, meetings, researching and, yes, doubts we decided to install a wood pellet boiler, along with the necessary changes to the hot water system. Whilst we had suffered from those very real initial doubts we were quickly able to put them to one side as the pellet boiler gave us superb levels of heat and delivered it all day for a cost very similar to the miserly times offered by the original bulk gas installation. We are currently enjoying very affordable all day heating. We were more than pleased that we could submit a claim for the Domestic RHI payments through an online process. For someone with a working life embracing ICT and systems development I was apprehensive at the thought of having to make such an online application. To my great surprise the entire process, from website guidance to physically making the online application was absolutely superb.

It was a breath of fresh air and demonstrated the full potential of a truly integrated online system. All information, as entered, is checked in real time and by the time I had completed the online process an email was already in my inbox with my offer… truly stunning!

To this day I shake my head in disbelief . . . but it certainly was true! Reviewing now, as we start 2015 we have been delighted with our wood pellet boiler installation, our installer, and the seven year Government support, via Ofgem and the Domestic RHI.

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 [www.gov.uk/register-biomass-supplier][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 [www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications-and-updates/uk-solid-and-gaseous-biomass-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 rhieclist.org.uk. The website is administered by HETAS. Contact HETAS for further guidance on Air Quality Requirements and EC-Listing on rhiec@hetas.co.uk 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 rhieclist.org.uk/apply-for-listing. 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 – rhieclist.org.uk/apply-for-listing
  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 rhiec@hetas.co.uk or call 01684 278170.