The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) can seem like bureaucracy gone mad. There are masses of guidance notes to read, long sprawling emails that seem to drop into your inbox all too regularly, hoops to jump through when you make the slightest system or admin change and heaps of ongoing obligations. It’s a big ask to keep all the plates spinning!
If your RHI project uses a biomass fuel you also have to demonstrate its sustainability through registration with SFR or the Biomass Suppliers List (BSL) or through self-reporting. Ofgem recently reported on reasons for audit failure and lack of correct fuel records and evidence of sustainability was one of the main reasons (accounting for 35.5% of failures).
Registration of your non-wood solid fuel with SFR really helps as you get an SFR number each time you register fuel which is unique and tells Ofgem that your fuel meets all the sustainability requirements. All the registered information is in your SFR dashboard so if an auditor comes to visit you can login and all the pertinent evidence is there. The SFR number is valid as long as you are still using that fuel. When it’s used up you need to register some more. The simplest thing to do is register your fuel when you harvest it – for example, miscanthus in April, oilseed rape straw in June and wheat straw in August – if you do this it’s a job done.
Two really important things to remember:
- Paying the SFR renewal fee is not the same as registering new fuel. You still need to fill in the online registration and tell us about the fuel used for things like baling and transport from field to store. If you find this to laborious we can help you do it. Existing customers get a big discount on an assisted application. Please contact us for details.
- SFR does not keep a record of your daily, weekly or monthly fuel use. You need to do this for yourself. Ofgem has produced some guidance notes on this. We have created some simple to use spreadsheets to help users of miscanthus chip and straw bales. Please get in touch if you would like us to send you a copy.
We are all the time thinking about how to make the SFR registration process as simple and user-friendly as possible whilst also ensuring that the SFR seal of approval continues to be viewed as a league leader in sustainability reporting. As a result, we are hoping to roll out several improvements to the site in the months ahead. For instance, we want to make it possible for certain aspects of a ‘like for like’ registration to be cloned so a user can save time not inputting the same data. In addition, we are keen to provide an uploading facility so that fuel usage records can also be held in a user’s dashboard. Then all your sustainability records will be truly in one place and should make auditing a breeze. Please watch this space for updates.