The Micropower Council have led a call to the government for changes to be made to end the “distorted” UK renewable heating market.
Currently, some renewable heat technologies are eligible to receive the government’s renewable heat tariff. This is similar to the feed in tariff for renewable energy technologies.
The Micropower Council, along with the Heat Pumps Association, BEAMA and the Heating and Hot Water Industry Council, are calling for the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) to be extended to cover air-to-water heat pumps which are currently not included in the scheme.
The statement from the Micropower Council requests that the government stick to their original timetable for adding the pumps to their approved list, as the current situation is creating an unfair market.
Dave Sowden, chief executive of the Micropower Council says “All we want is a level playing field for all renewable heating solutions, and the Minister has not supplied any justifiable reason to continue with what is now a serious and harmful market distortion in what should by now be a flourishing commercial renewable heating market. Our call is to apply a tariff to exactly the same formula as for the other technologies, and the European Commission has told us it could process a properly completed State Aid application within two months.”
Government officials have said that there is no legal reason for the pumps to not be included in the scheme without a consultation this autumn.
Kelly Butler of the BEAMA adds that current phase of the RHI is stifling any sustainable growth for air source heat pumps by excluding them.
“The simple fact is that commercial air to water heat pumps offer a great opportunity to meet our renewable targets and absolutely fit in with the Government’s long term de-carbonised energy scenarios,” she says.
The current phase of the RHI, which began in November 2011, includes biomass boilers, ground source heat pumps, bio gas and solar thermal technologies. Air-to-water heat pumps were originally excluded from the scheme because of a lack of cost data but the government subsequently indicated that the technology would be included this year.
“There is no logic in continuing to exclude air to water heat pumps from the government’s RHI scheme,” says Roger Webb, director of the Heating and Hotwater Industry Council. “It does create confusion why some technologies are included and others are not and it’s important to have a level playing field for all renewable technologies so that opportunities can be created.”