The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme is coming to an end for new applicants on the 31 March 2021. However, there are two options that can allow participants to install and apply for their projects up to 31 March 2022. A Tariff Guarantee if the system is eligible for this or systems that are not eligible for the Tariff Guarantee can apply for an extension.
For non-Tariff Guarantee participants, eligible applicants will be able to submit an ‘extension application’ in March 2021, to gain an additional 12 months. This will allow them up to 31 March 2022 to put together a full application for non-domestic RHI accreditation. As part of the application, there will be an additional requirement for evidence that the applicant had invested capital in the project prior to the 17 August 2020, in order to ensure that this measure is targeted at those most in need of aid as a result of COVID-19 related delays.
This means that for most projects there is still time to get in on the RHI scheme provided action is taken quickly, this will include having your project scoped and relevant permissions in place.
To make a full application or a Tariff Guarantee (TG) you MUST have approved planning permission or a letter from your local authority confirming that planning is not required. This can take several weeks so it is important not to delay this step.
You will also need to consider any environmental permits that are required, including variations to existing permits (for example poultry) and Medium Combustion Plant Permits for any combustion plant with an input of greater than 1 MW (boilers around 850 kW or greater). Depending on the environmental permit required it could take up to 12 months to get a full permit in place, although interim arrangements are allowing RHI applications to be made in some circumstances.
At the moment there are no plans to further extend the RHI beyond these dates, the next support mechanism for green heat will be capital grant based, with up to £4,000 available per scheme to support the installation of smaller installations (up to 45 kWth). This will fit small commercial building and office space heating well but is unlikely to be very popular in many agricultural sectors.
For biomethane projects, unless the project is already at an advanced stage it is unlikely that these deadlines will be achieved, however, there will be a new support scheme specifically aimed at biomethane - the Green Gas Support Scheme (GGSS). It is still in consultation, but it is expected to be implemented in autumn 2021.
Key things to note
Tariff Guarantees are available for:
- Biomass – ≥1 MWth
- Biomass CHP’s – All capacities
- Ground source heat pumps (GSHP) and Water source heat pumps (WSHP) – ≥100 kWth
- Geothermal – All capacities
- Biogas combustion – ≥600 kWth
- Biomethane – All capacities.
A Medium Combustion Plant Directive (MCPD) environmental permit is required for all new plants (commissioned after 20 December 2018) with a thermal input of >1MW (boiler output of 850 kW approx.).
If you would like to find out more, give the NFU Energy team a call on 024 7669 6512.