Warm reception for the Domestic RHI

Wood pellets in a biomass boiler. The Domestic RHI should make heat more affordable to social housing tenants.

THE government launched its Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) on 9 April, a scheme designed to drive the uptake of renewable heat technologies – such as heat pumps, solar thermal systems and biomass boilers – among homeowners.

Energy and Climate Change minister Greg Barker said: “This is the first scheme of its kind in the world – showing yet again that the UK is leading the way in the clean energy sector. Not only will people have warmer homes and cheaper fuel bills, they will reduce their carbon emissions, and will also get cash payments for installing these new technologies. It opens up a market for the supply chain, engineers and installers – generating growth and supporting jobs as part of our long-term economic plan.”
The reception for the new measure appeared to be universally positive. Andy Deacon, Director of Development at the Energy Saving Trust, said: “The domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) makes renewable heat technologies more cost-effective in off-gas properties – around six per cent of all UK homes – which are often heated by more expensive fuels. With rising energy bills and worries about energy security, there needs to be a major transformation in the way we heat our homes, with the domestic RHI helping to make this a reality through enabling households to receive an income for renewable energy generation, while also achieving financial and carbon savings.”
In Scotland, the measure promises to benefit thousands of social housing tenants, not to mention the environment, following a tweaking of the policy. Social landlords are to be allowed to claim under the domestic RHI, it emerged in early April, following a request to this effect made to DECC last year by Scottish Renewables, the representative body of the Scottish renewables industry.
“A quarter of all homes in Scotland are classed as social housing, so Scotland’s success in persuading the UK Government to include social landlords in the scheme means thousands of tenants on low incomes can now benefit from the affordable heat provided by renewables.
“Scotland has ambitious aspirations for renewable heat, and the domestic RHI gives us a welcome boost towards achieving them.”
Signatories to the June 2013 letter to Ed Davey, UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, included the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, Existing Homes Alliance Scotland, WWF Scotland, the Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers,
The scheme has been available for the non-domestic sector since 2011.