Call for evidence: 'Renewable Heat Incentive'

31 January 2013

In order to meet its Renewable Energy Directive target of generating 15% of energy from renewable sources by 2020, the Government “anticipates that around 12% of heat will need to come from renewable energy”. 

However, to date, uptake of renewable heat technologies has been disappointing; renewable heat has recently been described as “the sleeping giant of UK renewable energy policy”. The Government expects that a domestic RHI scheme will contribute significantly towards the Renewable Energy Directive.

Renewable Heat Incentive

The domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) programme is due to be introduced in summer 2013 while a non-domestic RHI has been in operation since November 2011. The Government was expected to launch a domestic scheme in October 2012 alongside the Green Deal (which were also delayed to January 2013).  The launch of the domestic scheme was, however, postponed following fears that the scheme would exceed its budget.

DECC’s latest proposals indicate that the domestic RHI scheme will be open to all householders who replace their current heating system with certified renewable technologies or have done so since 15 July 2009. It is intended that recipients will receive support for deemed heat generated through tariff-based payments over a seven year period. Households will, however, be expected to finance the upfront costs of installation themselves through personal funds or a loan.

Consultations have recently closed on the Government’s proposals for a domestic RHI scheme and extension of the non-domestic RHI scheme. The domestic RHI consultation document sought opinions on the design of the scheme and covered eligibility criteria, indicative levels of support and assurance mechanisms.

Terms of Reference

The Committee will hold an evidence session on 26 March and invites short submissions of evidence (which will be used to identify witnesses for oral evidence) on any or all of the following terms of reference:

1. Will the proposed degression mechanism strike the right balance between ensuring value for money for taxpayer and providing businesses and households with the certainty they need to invest in renewable heat technologies?

2. Is a phased roll-out approach appropriate or should the RHI be a national scheme from the start?

3. How could the RHI be used to help off-grid households living in fuel poverty?

4. Is the application process for domestic RHI sufficiently straightforward and has the scheme been sufficiently publicised?

5. Should the Government involve third-party trusted messengers, such as charities, consumer groups, community organisations, local authorities in developing and delivering the customer journey for RHI and what would be the best way to do this?

6. How are the proposals for domestic RHI likely to interact with existing policies such as the Green Deal and the Energy Company Obligation (ECO)?

7. Does consumer protection need to be strengthened to combat potential miss-selling and how should this be done? 

8. Is there a danger that a gap in support will emerge between when the Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) will end in March 2013 and the commencement of the domestic RHI scheme in the summer of that year, what impact might this have?

9. What barriers might prevent the Government from announcing RHI implementation plans by summer 2013 and what impact would further delays have on the sector?

10. What lessons can learned from the implementation of the non-domestic RHI scheme?
The deadline for the submission of written evidence is 21 February 2013

Notes on submission of written evidence

As part of a scheme to encourage paperless working and maximise efficiency, the Committee is piloting a new web portal for online submission of written evidence. Written submissions for this inquiry should therefore be sent via the link at the top of this page.

The deadline is Thursday 21 February 2013. Short submissions of evidence are invited, ideally of no more than 1000, but up to 3000 words if necessary. Please contact the Committee staff if you wish to discuss this. If you need to send hard copy please send it to: The Clerk, Energy and Climate Change Committee, 7 Millbank, London, SW1P 3JA.

Submissions should be in the format of a self-contained memorandum. Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference, and the document should, if possible, include an executive summary.

Submissions should be original work, not previously published or circulated elsewhere. Once submitted, your submission becomes the property of the Committee and no public use should be made of it unless you have first obtained permission from the Clerk of the Committee. Please bear in mind that Committees are not able to investigate individual cases.

The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to publish the written evidence it receives, either by printing the evidence, publishing it on the internet or by making it publicly available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure; the Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.

You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

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