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RHI amendment updates installer standards

Parliamentary undersecretary of state for energy and climate change Lord Bourne has announced the latest amendments to the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).

The written ministerial statement on the RHI amendment regulations included updated installer standards for heat pumps, solid biomass and solar thermal.

The heat pump installer standard has been updated to bring MCS standards in line with the European Energy-related Products (ErP) Directive; this Directive will come into force across Europe for all heat pumps manufactured or imported into Europe on 26 September 2015.

In addition to the new MCS standards, these regulations will introduce a new methodology for calculating heat pump efficiency.

The Seasonal Coefficient of Performance (SCOP) calculator will be used by Certification Bodies to determine if a heat pump meets the requirements of the ErP Directive and to establish the Seasonal Performance Factor (SPF) required for the RHI scheme.

Establishing the SPF using this calculator will be a requirement for the Domestic RHI and for any MCS certified ErP compliant heat pump.

Lord Bourne said: “Deployment of biomethane injection to grid under the RHI has grown significantly over the last twelve months. There are currently 27 plants in the RHI system and more plants are expected to come forward and be operating by the end of 2015.

“The current approach to estimating biomethane deployment can cause a temporary but significant underestimate of forecast expenditure for biomethane plants due to the ramp-up in production typically associated with establishing a new biogas plant.”

Lord Bourne said the current approach does not reflect this ramp-up period in which plants can take around 6 months to reach full production.

“This undermines the effectiveness of the RHI budget management policy,” Mr Bourne added. “The amendments introduce a more accurate forecasting methodology to better reflect operational realities for biomethane plants.”

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