Sustainability criteria for the Domestic 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.
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’.
For Biomass Sustainability FAQ’s click here.