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.

From the Helpline

HETAS Technical Bulletin 6 CoverIt’s been a busy time on the HETAS Technical Helpline. Some of the common themes for April include distance to combustibles, CO alarm requirements and positioning and of course external air supply with our latest guidance being sent out in the latest Technical Bulletin.

We have also had a number of enquiries about the Renewable Heat Incentive as the consultation which ended on the 27th April. We recently held a webinar to provide information on those wanting to respond to the consultation. As soon as we have more information we’ll share the information in our regular updates with results due to be published at www.gov.uk/government/consultations/the-renewable-heat-incentive-a-reformed-and-refocused-scheme.

We will be adding some FAQs to the Technical Area over the coming months and building your library of information, but if you do have a specific question please do not hesitate to contact Stephen, Garry and Gary on the helpline by calling 01684 278170 (option 3) or email technical@hetas.co.uk.

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.

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.

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

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 mcsproduct@hetas.co.uk, or call 01242 682042.MCSProduct PD

You can find MCS biomass products approved by HETAS using the search facility at https://www.hetas.co.uk/find-appliance

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.



MCS Legacy Applications

Installers and consumers are being reminded to register renewable heating systems that have been installed on or after 15th July 2009 on the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) database immediately in order to avoid missing out on Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) payments. The scheme is for householders looking to replace their current heating system with a supported renewable heat technology and householders who have installed a renewable heat technology since 15 July 2009.

 Legacy systems must be registered with MCS by 4pm on Tuesday 22nd October in order to qualify for RHI payments. The Department of Energy and Climate Change plan to open the domestic scheme in spring 2014 with homes generating renewable energy will receive 12.2p/kWh for biomass boilers and at least 19.2p/kWh for solar thermal.

 HETAS offer MCS installer registration for both biomass and solar thermal technologies along with MCS product approval for biomass appliances. To find out more about installer registration speak to Jo Courtney-Wiggins on 01242 681907 or email mcsinstaller@hetas.co.uk.

Manufacturers interested in product approval should contact Brian Bailey on 01242 682042 or email mcsproduct@hetas.co.uk.

Air Quality Regulations for non domestic RHI


HETAS is alerting installers and specifiers to changes in air quality regulations which affect biomass applications for the non domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). From September 24th 2013 applications for a biomass boiler will need to have either a RHI emission certificate or an environmental permit demonstrating low particulate and nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions. Since the non domestic Renewable Heat Incentive was launched, the majority of funding has been allocated to biomass installations, with commercial users reaping the benefits of using biomass as a low carbon fuel.

The criteria for the RHI emission certificate is a maximum of 30 grams per gigajoule (g/GJ) net heat input for particulate matter, and 150 g/GJ for NOx (expressed as NO2). If the biomass boiler does not have a RHI emission certificate then an environmental permit from the Environment Agency is required. Biomass boilers that do not have a RHI emission certificate or an environmental permit will be ineligible for the non domestic RHI. Applications before that date don’t need to meet the air quality requirements, but applications for additional boiler capacity after 24th September will need to meet the new standards.

End users must make sure they use the correct fuel as specified in the emission certificate. Fuel quality is paramount, and moisture content has the biggest effect on heat output as any water in the fuel has to evaporate away before the wood or biomass will burn, using up energy and reducing the amount of useful heat as opposed to steam up the chimney. For installations using wood pellets the European ENplus standard ensures fuel quality with minimum standards for ash content, ash melting temperature, wood pellet size, dust, moisture content and heat output. HETAS is approved as the UK certification body for ENplus by the European Pellet Council (EPC), and is able to certificate both producers and traders under the ENplus scheme.

HETAS is the only dedicated competent persons scheme for the solid fuel and biomass industry, and operates a Microgeneration Certification Scheme for biomass and solar thermal installers along with an appliance approval scheme for biomass appliances. They also run a fuel quality scheme along with Woodsure, with full details available on the HETAS website.

RHI Announcement

HETAS welcomes domestic RHI tariff announcement

mcsHETAS has welcomed the latest announcements by the government on the long awaited Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). Chief executive Bruce Allen said ‘we’re delighted to see that the tariffs for biomass, solar and heat pumps have been announced, which means that people can now get a clearer picture of what financial incentives will be available. We’re also pleased that spring 2014 is the target date for implementing the RHI, but we would really like to see a firm date set for when the scheme will start.’

Under the RHI, householders could receive hundreds of pounds a year for using biomass boilers, solar thermal panels or heat pumps. The tariff levels for biomass boilers have been set at 12.2p/kWh, and households will be paid on a quarterly basis for seven years based on the estimated heat demand of the property. A Green Deal assessment is required, and installers must be MCS certified or equivalent.

As the dedicated competent persons scheme for the solid fuel and biomass industry, HETAS is working with OFGEM as part of the RHI industry advisory group in order to provide support for an effective scheme. HETAS already offers MCS installer training for biomass and registration for biomass and solar thermal installers and also runs an MCS scheme for biomass product approval. The HETAS biomass training course is mapped against national occupational standards and is designed to meet the future requirements of competent persons, MCS, Green Deal and RHI.

Our dedicated MCS team is available to discuss the latest RHI announcement and the impact this could have on your business. Please use the following contacts:

Installer Enquiries

Phone: 01242 681907 Email: mcsinstaller@hetas.co.uk

Product Enquiries

Phone: 01242 682042 Email: mcsproduct@hetas.co.uk