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Biomass boilers and NDRHI

View profile for Paige Phillips
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Biomass Boilers and the Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive – How does the UK leaving the EU affect me?

Many businesses, non-profit organisations and the public sector took advantage of the Renewable Heat Incentive (NDRHI) put in place by government. The initial scheme was created by the European Council to increase the use of renewable energy across member countries. It is administered by Ofgem who work alongside BEIS. 
 
Whilst Ofgem are no longer accepting applications for new systems following the deadline of 31 March 2021, there are still many existing systems in place and many applications awaiting processing due to delays caused by COVID 19.
 
In particular, there was an uplift in the use of biomass systems. These systems use wood, plants and other organic matter as opposed to fossil fuels, in an attempt to reduce carbon emissions. As at November 2020 there were 17,031 biomass installations accredited to the scheme, with each consumer member receiving the payment of a financial incentive for a period of 20 years based on the amount of heat their system generates. 
 
As a result of the UK leaving the European Union, the Government will be introducing some changes on 1st April 2022.
 
These changes include the introduction of a fuel quality standard as a criterion for claiming the Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (NDRHI) payments. To ensure compliance, consumers will need to ensure they are using accreditation bodies such as the Biomass Suppliers List (for wood fuels) or the Sustainable Fuels Register (for non-wood fuels) to check that their suppliers are compliant. 
 
In addition, the changes will see the introduction of compulsory annual maintenance checks for all NDRHI biomass installations. The Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) and HETAS (Heating Equipment Testing and Approvals Scheme, a specialist non-profit organisation with a focus on delivering a cleaner and safer environment, and the only organisation approving biomass and solid fuel heating appliances, fuels and services) have developed an industry standard to use however the onus will be on the consumer to provide evidence of compliance. This will be monitored and added to the annual declaration which will need to be made by the consumer to Ofgem. 
 
If a participant is found to be in breach of any the new rules, Ofgem can withhold, suspend or even revoke that participant’s NDRHI payments. In some situations, Ofgem may also look to recoup payments made where non-compliance is discovered. 
 
If you would like further advice on this topic, please contact a member of our Agricultural Team who will be delighted to assist.