February 2016

Outcomes of an Independent Evaluation of the RHI Published

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New research by Eunomia published today provides fresh insights into the effects of the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme.

The Government has recently confirmed financial support for the scheme through to 2021, albeit with a lower overall budget. This new research, therefore, comes at an important time, as Government is due to consult on potential changes to the scheme in the coming months.

The independent study, commissioned by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), investigated scheme applicants’ motivations, the basis on which they made their investment decisions and their perceptions of the technologies supported by the RHI. In addition, Eunomia examined how the renewable heating supply chain perceives both the RHI scheme, and the renewable heat market more broadly.

 

Heat Pump

Photo – Kryzsytof Lis  (CC BY-SA 2.0), via Flickr

Key insights from the research conducted by Eunomia include:

  • The RHI is helping to develop a renewable heating market
  • The vast majority of non-domestic RHI applicants were satisfied with how their renewable heat installation worked in practice.
  • High costs and finance are fundamental barriers to the growth of renewable heating
  • The non-domestic RHI scheme has had some unexpected impacts

DECC commissioned an independent evaluation research to understand and assess how effectively the RHI scheme is delivering relative to its objectives and to support the further development of the scheme. In addition to Eunomia’s work, the study summarises work by NatCen Social Research, Centre for Sustainable Energy and Frontier Economics. It included surveys and interviews with applicants in the domestic and non-domestic schemes, alongside participants in the renewable heat supply chain.

Commenting on the outcomes of the study, Eunomia’s Head of Energy, Adam Baddeley, said:

“Our findings suggest that expanding the take-up of renewable heat technologies such as biomass, solar thermal and heat pumps remains challenging and there is still significant work to be done before we see renewable heat making a significant contribution to decarbonising our energy supply. Understanding how the RHI is working is therefore vital for the Government as it considers how to amend the scheme going forward.”