The RHI has been available to the commercial, industrial and public sectors since November 2011 to financially support the move to the generation of heat from renewable sources.
The RHI will now also support heat generation from ‘medium’ (200-599kWth) and ‘large’ (600+kWth) biogas combustion plants that is predominantly sourced from anaerobic digestion (AD) of wastes. This support recognises the contribution of AD to the production of renewable heat, waste management and reduction of GHG emissions. Support for biomass CHP has also now been included.
The current non-domestic RHI only supports biogas plants of less than 200kWth this excluded a large number of medium sized on-farm AD plants, likely to be only slightly above the current capacity limit, as well as multi MWth plants on industrial sites such as whisky distilleries and cheese processing plants.
A support tariff of 5.9p/kWh for medium scale and 2.2p/kWh for large scale biogas combustion installations is to be introduced subject to State Aid approval.
There has also been a review of degression triggers, i.e. the level of public support for each technology beyond which support/unit of output will be reduced (to ensure the RHI remains financially stable) These have been re-examined in light of the amount of deployment that has been stimulated to date. As a result, a new degression trigger for biogas combustion has been set at £3.1million while the updated biomethane trigger has been reduced significantly by £11.1million form the existing trigger to £44.4million from April 2014.
It is hoped that in doing this, there will be increased uptake of the scheme, making these technologies more attractive to potential investors and by extension, allowing the market to grow. The recent announcement by Minister for Energy, Greg Baker that there will be a review of the Feed-in-Tariff for small scale anaerobic digestion after the capacity trigger for this size of AD plant was reached has also been a positive step for the industry.
David Turley, NNFCC Executive Manager and Lead Consultant on Biobased Feedstocks, said: “The extension of eligible technology scales for biomass CHP and biogas is welcome, to support greater capture and use of heat that might otherwise be wasted in larger CHP plants and to encourage large scale renewable heat generation from biogas where opportunities arise.
"The change in degression triggers for biogas is a pragmatic one, reflecting that deployment has not been as great as anticipated while leaving sufficient headroom to encourage deployment and re-allocation to technologies and deployment scales showing real potential for growth."
He continued, "These changes and others reflect where industry has been pressing government and are a welcome move by a government that is now looking to increase renewable heat deployment significantly.”
TheBioenergySite News Desk