Northern Ireland Minister welcomes renewable energy

Published on Thursday, 19 July 2012 12:53
Posted by Scott Buckler

Energy Minister Arlene Foster has today revealed details of long term financial incentives for those wishing to install renewable energy technologies to heat their properties

The Minister will be seeking to put the legislation in place to enable the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) to launch in the early Autumn. The RHI is a mechanism that will support the uptake of technologies such as biomass boilers, heat pumps and solar thermal panels by providing incentive payments over the lifetime of the technology.

The Minister has been able to reveal the proposed levels of support following clearance from the European Union. The RHI will be open to non-domestic customers in the first instance and will support already established technologies; DETI will then seek to expand the scheme to cover the domestic sector and additional technologies in the near future. The announcement of support levels follows on from the recent launch of the Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) scheme for domestic consumers.

Commenting on the RHI Arlene Foster said: "It is vital that Northern Ireland begins developing a more sustainable heating market rather than relying solely on imported fossil fuels. The launch of the RHI, in conjunction with the grant support already in place for domestic customers, represents £25million of funding to 2015. This demonstrates my commitment to this sector and my desire to see levels of renewable heating increase."

The RHI will act as a key policy driver as DETI seeks to increase levels of renewable heating to 4% by 2015 and 10% by 2020. The tariffs set have been calculated by independent consultants and are designed to bridge the gap between the costs of renewable heating technologies and conventional fossil fuels.

The Minister continued: "The RHI will provide businesses, community groups, schools, churches and other organisations with long term financial support when switching to renewable heating. In addition, the development of this sector will provide opportunities for local firms involved in the supply of renewable heating and renewable fuels.

"In these times of higher energy prices, my Department is committed to exploring opportunities to provide greater choice for consumers, promoting more sustainable technologies and supporting those wishing to change from conventional fossil fuel heating. The development of this sector is important in the realisation of a more diverse, secure and competitive heating market in Northern Ireland."

The scheme will be launched once appropriate legislation has been passed by the Assembly, this is scheduled for Autumn 2012, however installations commissioned from 1 September 2010 will be eligible to apply for support. More information on the eligibility standards under the scheme will be made available by the Department by the end of July.

Source: ©Northern Ireland Executive


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