Industry News

Changes to RHI support and COVID-19 response: further government response


his article sets out the government’s intention to enact further changes to the Non-Domestic

Renewable Heat Incentive (NDRHI), to aid installations impacted by COVID-19 related delays. It requests industry views on the evidence that applicants may be able to provide, to demonstrate they have invested capital in either construction or pre-build development, as well as the time needed to complete and commission projects. On 30 June, 2020, the Department

for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) published a response to the notice changes to the Renewable Heat Incentive Schemes and COVID-19. This response outlined changes to the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) schemes, following announcements made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer as part of the budget. Additionally, proposals were outlined

that were designed in response to the impact that COVID-19 is having on NDRHI projects’ ability to meet predetermined commissioning deadlines as set out by the current Tariff Guarantee (TG) scheme. A number of respondents to the initial notice highlighted that there were existing non-TG eligible projects that would likely struggle to apply for accreditation before the NDRHI closure deadline of 31 March, 2021, as a result of COVID-19 related delays. In response to this, BEIS now

intend to make further changes to the NDRHI, in order to aid those non-TG eligible projects that have invested capital into project development that will not be able to accredit to the scheme prior to its closure. These projects will be afforded an additional six months after scheme closure (on or before 30 September, 2021) to submit a properly made full application for accreditation, providing that

REA comments on Tariff Guarantee extension

Dr Nina Skorupska CBE, Chief Executive of the REA said: “The extension to the non-domestic RHI is excellent news and something the REA and it’s members have been working hard to achieve over the last few months.

“The extension will not only give existing projects the opportunity to be completed in light of COVID-19 delays, but will go a long way is boost the local economy, reduce emissions and creating and protecting green jobs, supply chains and skills in line with our Net Zero by 2050 goals.”

6 Forest Bioenergy Review Autumn 2020

they submit to the scheme during a window opening March, 2021, an ‘extension application’. This will be a new form of application for accreditation with evidence requirements, to be specified in the regulations, to show that the project was under development prior to the publication of this notice. It is expected that the evidence requirements will be similar to those of a full application for accreditation with some key exceptions, such as removing the requirement for evidence that a plant has been commissioned. As part of the extension

application, there will be an additional requirement for evidence that the applicant had invested capital in the project prior to the publication of this notice, 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 notice outlines the specifics

of how this mechanism is intended to work, highlighting both the evidence usually required for a full application, which applicants will not be required to submit as part of an extension application and that evidence, which will still be required when submitting an extension application. It then outlines the intended pieces of evidence that will be accepted by Ofgem, the scheme administrator, as demonstrating that a project was under development prior to the publication of this notice. Additionally, it requests views from industry on what evidence could be provided by projects which are under development and which will not be

able to demonstrate one or more of the outlined evidence requirements. This mechanism will not be

available to TG eligible installations as changes to TG deadlines and the introduction of the 3rd allocation of TGs (TG3) already afford eligible installations significant additional time in which to commission after the closure of the NDRHI. Those that are eligible to apply for TGs may apply for TG3 and benefit from the extended commissioning deadline that it offers and as such are outside the intended objectives of this policy.

The mechanism This route is intended to be available to non-TG eligible NDRHI installations. As such it will exclude:

solid biomass combined heat and power (CHP)

geothermal and biomethane applications of all sizes

biomass greater than or equal to 1MWth

biogas greater than or equal to 600kWth

ground source and water source heat pumps (including shared ground loops) greater than or equal to 100kWth

It is intended that in the final month of the scheme (March, 2021) applicants will have the opportunity to apply for the proposed 6 month extension by submitting a properly made ‘extension application’. It will be noted that at the time of application, there will be the usual accreditation evidence requirements that will not be able to be provided, such as the following:

installation commissioning evidence

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