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UK: Points to watch for the Renewable Heat Incentive

Many farm businesses run into difficulty when it comes to an RHI audit due to failure to notify system changes or omissions or inaccuracies in record keeping. One issue seen in recent months relates to planning permission for biomass boilers. It’s always been a requirement of the RHI to have proof of planning permission but in the past, Ofgem rarely asked to see this proof. Now at audit, or during other interactions, Ofgem is requesting it and if you are unable to supply adequate evidence you risk your RHI payments being suspended until you can. It’s therefore important to rectify any omissions now:

  • If you failed to apply for planning permission at the start of your project, then apply for it retrospectively without delay.
  • If you believe your system is exempt from planning permission, then you need to obtain explicit proof of this from your local planning department.
  • Once you have your evidence, keep a copy filed with your RHI records.

Similar to Planning Permission requirements, your site must have evidence of any Environmental Permit associated with the RHI installation in place or evidence that it is not required. An easy way to ensure that you are continuing to meet your RHI obligations is to book an RHI HealthCheck with NFU Energy. This highlights any potential problems, allowing you to get everything in good order and reduce the risk of payment delays.

What is an RHI HealthCheck?

  • A site visit from an NFU Energy RHI expert
  • Covers your physical system, records and fuel sustainability
  • Assesses how well your system and processes match your accredited documentation
  • Ensures you are keeping all the right records in the right format
  • Highlights any necessary changes to remain RHI compliant
  • Helps you sail through an Ofgem audit

Extension to the tariff guarantee
If you are planning a system involving heat pumps over 100kWth or a biomass boiler over 1MWth, the good news is that the government has extended the period for the tariff guarantee. This is the means by which you can secure a guaranteed tariff rate on application before completing your installation. It comes with a deadline by which to get your system commissioned and fully accredited. When the tariff guarantee was first introduced last year, this deadline was January 2020. It has now been extended to January 2021. However, be aware that it is not an automatic extension. If you already have a tariff guarantee but are not on track to complete by January 2020, you will need to reapply to extend the deadline – and the rate you will get will be the one current at that time.

Bearing in mind that we could see a rate drop at the next degression point on 01 September 2019, now is the time to get your information and paperwork in order if you do intend to reapply (or apply for the first time) so you are ready to go as soon as the new legislation is passed this summer. Tariff guarantee applications are also available for biogas installations >600kWth and all biomethane injection applications. Details of the next tariff rate degression are due to be announced towards the end of August. 

For more information:
Tel: 024 7669 8919

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