Providing certainty for Feed-in Tariffs and the Renewable Heat Incentive

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Government response to Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) consultation published Consultation on budget management and environmental sustainability…

  • Government response to Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) consultation published
  • Consultation on budget management and environmental sustainability of the non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) launched

Greater certainty for investors in renewable heat and small scale electricity technologies and a fair deal for consumers were delivered today by Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker, as he clarified future arrangements for Feed-in Tariffs and the Renewable Heat Incentive.

Feed-in Tariffs

The final package of changes to the FITs scheme has been announced by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) today, following consultation in February this year. This is part of a comprehensive review designed to ensure value for money for the consumer and long term certainty for those who choose to invest.

The changes will affect tariffs for all newly eligible FITs technologies from 1 December 2012 onwards. Changes to solar tariffs, which have already been announced, will take place from 1 August 2012.

A degression mechanism will be introduced for Anaerobic Digestion (AD), wind and hydro from April 2014 in line with uptake of these technologies. Tariffs will be published two months before the degression date and will be based on publicly-available data. Decisions on the degression mechanism for solar were outlined in the Government response published on 24 May 2012.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said:

“I want to provide long term certainty for those choosing to invest in all forms of small scale green electricity generation, not just solar, and our changes to FITs will do just that.

“As well reducing tariffs over time for AD, hydro and small scale wind in line with uptake, we are introducing tariff guarantees for all technologies, great news for projects with long lead in times like hydro power.

“We are also planning to remove the energy efficiency requirement for community and school solar projects in recognition of the hard to treat nature of community buildings often involved in such schemes, and the educational benefits that they can bring. These types of projects will also be able to get tariff guarantees for installations of any size, making it easier for communities to get involved in clean green local energy generation.”

Dave Sowden, Chief Executive of the Micropower Council said:

“We welcome what is broadly a very positive set of proposals that should bring greater confidence to investors and customers. In particular the decision to increase the export tariff, the clarification of cost controls for microCHP, the community proposals and the decision not to extend energy efficiency requirements beyond PV are welcome developments.

“We will continue to monitor progress of the technologies supported by FITs with a view to maintaining constructive dialogue with DECC to inform further developments to the scheme.” 

Paul Thompson, Head of Policy at the Renewable Energy Association said:

“These decisions demonstrate that DECC has listened carefully to industry concerns, and should restore certainty to the sub-5MW sector. We particularly welcome the support for community schemes and the improvements to the cost control mechanism. The introduction of tariff guarantees for projects at a relatively early stage is also very helpful, and we look forward to a similar approach being extended to the Renewable Heat Incentive.”

New tariffs for non-PV FITs technologies

Technology Band (kW) Current generation tariffs (p/kWh) Consultation tariffs from Oct 2012 (p/kWh, 2012 prices) Final tariffs from 1 Dec 2012 (p/kWh, 2012 prices) Community energy tariff (see explanation in paragraphs 148-151)

Hydro =15 21.9 21 21 21

15-=100 19.6 19.7 19.6 19.6

100-=500 12.1 12.1 15.5 15.5

500-=2000 12.1 12.1 12.1 12.1

2000-=5000 4.9 4.5(2.2 from April 2013) 4.48 4.48

Wind =1.5 35.8 21 21 21

1.5-=15 28 21 21 21

15-=100 25.4 21 21 21

100-=500 20.6 17.5 17.5 17.5

500-=1500 10.4 9.5 9.5 9.5

1500-=5000 4.9 4.5 (4.1 from April 2013) 4.48 4.48

AD =250 14.7 14.7 14.7 14.7

250-=500 13.6 13.7 13.6 13.6

500-=5000<> 9.9 9 8.96 8.96

microCHP =2 10.5 12.5 12.5 12.5

DECC is introducing a system of preliminary accreditation so all AD and hydro installations and larger wind and PV installations (over 50 kW) will be able to know before construction that they will be accredited. It will also provide certainty over tariffs for six months to two years depending on the technology. This means that if a developer gets their project up and running within the tariff guarantee timescale, they will get the tariff that applied at the time they applied for preliminary accreditation.

A system of advance tariff guarantees will also be available to non-domestic community energy PV projects up to 50 kW. A new hydro band for 100-500kW installations will also be introduced to ensure developers are incentivised to design their project at the most appropriate size.

“Community” FITs projects will be defined on the basis of existing tax law and community schemes will be exempt from the energy efficiency requirement (level D) introduced for solar from 1st April this year. Schools will also be exempt from the energy efficiency requirement even where they do not meet the definition of community scheme. Changes will take effect from 1 December, subject to Parliamentary and state aid clearance.

Renewable Heat Incentive

DECC has also today set out proposals to improve the performance and manage the future budget of the non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme, providing greater certainty to the market.

To ensure the RHI budget is managed effectively, DECC is proposing to introduce a flexible degression based system. Under this system tariffs would be reduced for new applicants if uptake approaches pre-determined trigger points. Tests to see whether degression is needed would take place quarterly, and if a tariff reduction is needed, one month’s notice would be given. Progress towards the trigger points for each technology and the scheme overall would be monitored throughout the year and data published monthly.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said:

“The Coalition is fully committed to driving forward investment in renewable heat, and our proposals will make sure we provide the right support for the industry.

“We want to continue helping renewable heat to grow and flourish, providing long term certainty for those who choose to invest in it.”

DECC has set out plans to introduce greater environmental sustainability into the RHI through the inclusion of standards on Biomass sustainability (in line with the UK Bioenergy strategy published in April 2012) and a clear process for how the air quality regime will work. DECC is also looking to simplify the metering arrangements for the RHI, reducing the administrative burden on participants and taking views on the scheme from existing applicants into account.

Notes for editors

  1. The Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) scheme provides a subsidy, paid for by all consumers through their energy bills, enabling small scale renewable and low carbon technologies to compete against higher carbon forms of electricity generation.
  2. The Government response to the FITs consultation can be found on the Consultation on Comprehensive Review Phase 2B: Tariffs for non-PV technologies and scheme administration issues web page.
    The RHI, launched in November last year, is the first of its kind in the world. The scheme provides long term support for renewable heat technologies like heat pumps, biomass boilers and solar thermal panels.
  3. The RHI consultation documents can be found on the Renewable Heat Incentive: providing certainty and improving performance web page. The consultation closes on 14 September 2012.
  4. DECC consulted on a stand-by mechanism for budget management in March which will take effect this summer and is intended to be in place until the longer term budget management comes into effect.
  5. Budget management proposals will be extended to the additional technologies brought into the non domestic RHI. These additional technologies will be subject of consultation in September.
  6. DECC will consult on support for householders in September with an aim to launch the scheme in summer 2013. Proposals for how to manage the budget for householder’s support will form part of the September consultation.
  7. DECC will continue to assess the workings of the RHI scheme and is proposing to review the scheme in 2014 to ensure tariffs for new applicants are still providing value for money.