Roger Webb: DECC prefers to 'batch' a number of technologies on one submission.

Heating bodies urge Barker to confirm RHI pledge

Published:  22 May, 2012

UK: Heating trades organisations, concerned that the Government might renege on the previous Secretary of State's commitment to include air to water commercial heat pumps in the Renewable Heat Incentive this October, are demanding a meeting with DECC minister Greg Barker.

The Micropower Council, Heating & Hotwater Industry Council (HHIC), Health Protection Agency (HPA) and the British Electrotechnical and Allied Manufacturers Association (BEAMA) believe the Government might postpone this decision until summer 2013 when phase II of the scheme is expected to be introduced. Any delay, they said, will give unfair competitive advantage to competing technologies.

In a letter to Mr Barker, Minister of State Department of Energy & Climate Change, the industry organisations demanded a meeting to discuss the matter.

'The initial exclusion of air to water heat pumps from phase I of the RHI in 2011 was explained by a lack of 'evidence for the costs of air to water heat pumps outside the domestic sector,' the letter stated.

"From discussions with officials, we understand that there are concerns that state aid approval may take a considerable time, particularly our experience last autumn in obtaining it for the launch of phase I," said Roger Webb, director of HHIC.

"Officials have told us that DECC would prefer to 'batch' the inclusion of a number of technologies in one submission to the Commission for State Aids approval and adopt the same approach for updating the RHI Statutory Instrument," Mr Webb stated, adding that "the difficulty with this approach is that it prolongs the distortion of the market... unnecessarily for what is a very simple and straightforward update that is now supported by a robust evidence base. It is already consistent with all the principles already established in Phase I and approved under state aids."

Said Dave Sowden, chief executive of the Micropower Council: "Given the confirmation from officials that all the relevant information gaps have now been filled, we call for urgent confirmation that the Government will stick to its previous commitment of including this key technology in the RHI this October to avoid damaging confidence in this and future government proposals.

"The consequence of not introducing air to water heat pumps in autumn 2012 is likely to result in a further year of damaging market distortion due to the unfair competition resulting from the current situation. "

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