Non-Domestic RHI Sustainability – What You Need to Know

biocycle south shropsWe work with many clients in the renewables sector, particularly operators of anaerobic digestion installations. The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is a government scheme that aims to increase the uptake of renewable heat installations. Accredited installations are currently paid a tiered tariff for the heat they produce. Operators of eligible technologies can take up this scheme and receive payments which can generate an extra source of income for 20 years.

In October 2015, amendments to the regulations established the requirement that fuels and feedstocks used in RHI eligible installations must meet certain sustainability criteria. These criteria include a lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emission limit of 34.8g CO2eq / MJ of heat produced (or MJ of biomethane if biomethane is injected to grid) and a requirement for certain land criteria to be met for the land where the fuel/feedstock is sourced. If the criteria are not met for a certain feedstock, then the RHI payment for that feedstock may not be paid! Many operators we have spoken to are not aware of these changes, so this post intends to help you understand how you can comply with the new requirements and ensure you receive your payments.

There are 4 ways in which you can provide evidence for meeting the criteria. These include;

  1. Source fuel from the Biomass Suppliers List (BSL) (only ‘woody’ fuels). The BSL has been available since 25th September 2014. Fuels that are purchased from this scheme and have a BSL authorisation number are viewed as sustainable. The authorisation number can be reported to Ofgem which fulfils the sustainability requirements.
  2. Register as a ‘self-supplier’ on the BSL (only <1MWth installation with ‘woody’ fuel)
  3. Self-report to Ofgem against criteria
  4. Biomass CHP installations ≥1MWe that are accredited on the Renewables Obligation Scheme that satisfy the sustainability criteria for that scheme are viewed as sustainable and therefore do not need to report against this criteria.

If you use fuels that are not on the BSL (e.g. all non woody fuels) you must self-report. Certain participants can use default values provided by Ofgem (as long as the installation capacity is <1MW and you do not inject biomethane to grid) but if there is no default value available you must calculate the GHG emissions for each different fuel yourself. This task can seem daunting but E4environment can help. We have developed a model to help calculate the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions of your fuels, all you need to do is supply us with some information about the fuels and feedstocks you use and your RHI accredited plant, and we will do the calculation for you! If you would like help with your RHI Sustainability Requirements or if you have any questions, give us a call on 01743 343403 or email hollie@e4environment.co.uk.

TIP: Ofgem provide some useful guides to the Non-Domestic RHI and the new Sustainability Criteria. These can be found on the main guidance page here. The Easy Guide to Sustainability can be found here.

E4environment is an environmental consultancy providing professional, practical advice and expertise to both the private and public sector on a wide range of environmental issues.

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