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Biomass boilers and Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive

During this long hot summer, it doesn’t seem right to be thinking about a new boiler. But of course, there are concerns that this extreme weather is going to become the norm. So, it’s worth looking at ways in which the UK can achieve lower net carbon emissions to protect the environment. And renewable energy targets represent a crucial plank in the government’s strategy to do so. We’ve talked before about biomass boilers and Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive  (Non-Domestic RHI). This aims to get businesses, the public sector and non-profit organisations to use renewable heat. As new RHI regulations came into force in May 2018, we thought we’d have another look at the scheme.

Changing regulations, but the incentive remains the same

On 22 May, new Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive regulations came guarantees shared into effect. These regulations included the introduction of:

  • tariff guarantees

  • shared ground loops

  • feedstock requirements

  • provisions to allow for replacement plants

  • eligible heat uses

  • preliminary applications.

In practice for most organisations, you should be eligible to receive an RHI subsidy if you fit a commercial or industrial biomass boiler. Solid biomass includes most commercially available fuel sources, such as wood pellets, wood chips or energy crops. Such fuels are considered sustainable and renewable. Essentially, the carbon dioxide released by burning biomass amounts to the same level that the plants absorbed while growing. And with responsible sourcing, new plants on annual growing cycles replace the fuel used.

Eligibility and the commercial/ industrial biomass boilers

Biomass boilers and Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive covers a wide range of small and large businesses. Hospitals, schools, and organisations with district heating schemes where one heating system serves multiple homes also qualify. Ofgem has guidance and resources on applying for the RHI. This runs through the types of boilers which are covered and the specific requirements you’ll need to meet. It will help you to receive payments under the scheme.

Eligible organisations which join the scheme and stick to its rules receive regular payments. These last for 20 years, linked to the amount of clean, green renewable heat which their system produces.

Tie your new boiler in with emissions targets

Failure to comply with emissions and air quality laws outside of the RHI could impact your ability to receive RHI support payments. One such law is the Medium Combustion Plant Directive (MCP). This Europe-wide regulation affects large biomass boilers.

Currently, a combustion plant burning virgin biomass will need a permit under the Environmental Permitting Regulations if the thermal input combustion plant is 20 MWth or more. This threshold will reduce to 1 MWth for the new plant from 20 December 2018 when MCP comes into effect. A combustion plant burning waste biomass will need a permit under the Environmental Permitting Regulations if the throughput is more than 50 Kg/hr of waste wood. Below this threshold, plants burning waste biomass do not need a permit but must be registered with the Environment Agency as an exempt waste activity.

What’s in it for you?

Hodgkinson Bennis can help you with every stage of fitting a new commercial or industrial biomass boiler. The main cost is installation, which will depend on the organisation’s energy usage. We can help determine this energy profile and hence the size of the system required, to avoid excess heat being produced. Fitting or upgrading a plant room may be an additional cost, as it will need to have water and electrics installed, while increasingly an internet connection is also required to monitor the plant room remotely. require help and of course, we’ll be able to ensure that pipework meets any organisation’s needs too. The RHI application for non-domestic installations is free to submit, but you may require help – and this is something we can do when we commission the system.

Investment in a commercial or industrial biomass heating system is significant and must be considered a long-term investment. However, the availability of the RHI considerably alters the economics, as it will payout for a guaranteed 20 years following your investment. With these RHI payments, it will take only around six years to pay back the investment in your system on average. This can amount to hundreds of thousands of pounds depending on the size of the system installed.

Talk to one of our experienced team today to find out more about biomass boilers.

Call: 0161 790 4411

About Hodgkinson Bennis biomass boilers and Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive

Hodgkinson Bennis design, install and maintain the most fuel-efficient commercial and industrial boilers. Headquartered in Manchester, we work across the UK, particularly in the North West, North East and throughout the Midlands. Contact us today to discuss how we can deliver advanced commercial and industrial boilers.

At Hodgkinson Bennis, we have worked with commercial and industrial boilers since 1872. This history gives us an enviable amount of experience as pioneers in the industry. We place an enormous emphasis on ensuring the health and safety of all team members, suppliers contractors, and the public. We are experts in biomass boilers and Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive.


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