Building & Design

Renewable heat incentive pays out to first UK organisations

The first two organisations to receive the UK government’s renewable heat incentive (RHI) are a Sheffield-based umbrella company and five holiday cottages in Yorkshire.

The £860 million scheme was launched last year to provide a financial incentive for industry and businesses to invest in low-carbon heating systems like heat pumps, biomass boilers or solar thermal panels.

The scheme, which is the first of its type in the world, pays a tariff for each kWh of renewable heat produced over a 20-year period.

The first recipients of the RHI are both using heat pumps: umbrella supplier Booth Brothers has installed a 24 kW water source heat pump to run an underfloor heating system for its offices in a former corn mill; meanwhile, a 4.3kW ground source heat pump is being used at Broadgate Farm Cottages in Beverley to provide heating and hot water for a set of holiday cottages.

“Being amongst the first installations to be accredited under the RHI is very satisfying,” says Booth Brothers chief executive Charles Booth.

“Last year, our Old Corn Mill offices were commended for their eco rating and we generate electricity from two wind turbines, solar panels and hydro generation so making the heat we use low carbon was naturally the next step.”

Currently, around half of the UK’s carbon emissions come from the energy used to provide heat. The RHI aims to reduce these emissions by 44 million tonnes by 2020 through the installation of around 126,000 low-carbon heating systems in the industrial, commercial and public sectors.

“Renewable heat is a largely untapped resource and an important new green industry of the future,” says Climate Change Minister Greg Barker. “It’ll help the UK shift away from fossil fuel, reducing carbon emissions and encouraging innovation, jobs and growth in new advanced technologies.”

The UK relies heavily on North Sea gas for heating, but with supplies declining it is becoming increasingly dependent on imports.

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Related stories:
UK government turns up the thermostat on renewable heating (25-Nov)
Social housing providers win share of £4 million UK renewable heat fund (18-Nov)
UK Government launches £3 million scheme to heat social housing (15-Aug)
UK householders to get £15 million for renewable heating (21-Jul)

06 January 2012