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Government delays domestic RHI until Spring 2014

Domestic incentives for heat pumps will start coming into force from next spring instead of this summer

The government has announced in its paper Increasing the Use of Low-Carbon technologies that the domestic version of the Renewable Heat Incentive has been delayed once more until spring 2014. The announcement did confirm however that air-to-water heat pumps are set to come within scope of the domestic RHI, with the per-kW tariff to be announced, along with full details of the new scheme, this summer. Ground source heat pumps are already within scope.

The decision appears to put paid to the hopes that air-to-air heat pump systems would be come within scope of the new RHI arrangements

To compensate, the Renewable Heat Premium Payment which offers cash back on installations of complying technology, including both air source and ground source heat pumps, is being extended for another year to March 2014.

The RHI for non-domestic buildings launched in November 2011 .

The decision was greeted with dismay by the heat pump sector. Rob Gardiner, managing director of ground source heat pump specialist Econic said: “The Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) has the ability to make the renewable heating sector take off – but significant skills and capacity to deliver schemes will be lost due to ongoing delays and lack of clarity. Businesses within the industry need rapid action to stimulate growth within the renewable heating sector– some will not be able to sustain the cost base of skills necessary for the industry over a further period of delay.”

He said: “First and foremost, the RHI phase 1 and phase 2 are fantastic opportunities to boost the installation of Ground Source Heating and Cooling systems and provide a genuinely efficient way of providing renewable heating and cooling. 

“Although efficiencies are significant and the operational expenditure are low compared with other renewable technologies, a barrier can be higher capital expenditure.  The RHI helps to overcome the capital expenditure barrier and encourages a long term approach to highly efficient heating and cooling for buildings.”

“The alternative to RHI would be to apply more stringent planning and legislative ties associated with the requirement for renewable heating and cooling in new and refurbished developments – even more stringent that they are currently. 

“However, this does not alleviate the dangers created by this further delay in the announcement.”


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