The establishment of the Renewable Heat Incentive must be fast-tracked to allow for implementation in the first quarter of 2018, James Murphy IFA Renewables Chairman has said.
Following remarks about the scheme made by Minister Denis Naughten last week, James Murphy said that while farmers are very interested in getting involved in the scheme, certainty and clarity on the details of the scheme, and reassurance that it is going to be implemented in the short-term are required to harness the interest that is out there at the moment.
The Renewables Chairman said it is positive that the Minister has given confirmation that the Renewable Heat Incentive will be exchequer funded, and that biomass, anaerobic digestion, heat pumps, solar thermal, and geothermal will be eligible for support under the scheme. He said the proposed 15 year contracts and tiered payment rates based on metered heat produced should give the certainty to those who choose to participate.
James Murphy said it is important that the Minister makes good on his commitment to announce detail of the scheme within the next month.
He said that IFA has engaged with the Minister and his Department on the measures that are required to ensure the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme is workable for farmers. IFA has sought that:
- a percentage of the RHI budget should be ring-fence for agricultural and community based projects;
- a minimum technology standard should apply;
- successful applicants under the RHI who installed renewable heating systems prior to July 2014 should be eligible;
- there should be a requirement to show an economically justifiable heating need; and,
- a minimum duration of support for 15 years, with the price linked to an Energy Index be introduced.