More about the Renewable Heat Incentive

I have been trying to unravel the Renewable Heat Incentive that the Government announced on Wednesday. So far the details have not emerged but the following seems clear:-

  • The incentive will apply to domestic, commercial and industrial projects
  • It will not be funded by levies on heating bills
  • It covers all renewable heat technologies but the feed in tariff rates for them have yet to be “agreed” between Ministers and their civil servants
  • Between 2011 and 2015 a total budget of £850 million will be available, with more than half the budget being paid in 2014/2015

The government predicts that this incentive will change the nature of renewable heat from what they describe as a fringe industry into a mainstream industry, which is right and proper considering that heat energy accounts for half the United Kingdom’s greenhouse gas emissions. The government are predicting a tenfold growth over this period for businesses involved in renewable heat.

If the government sticks to the budget I have no doubt that growth will be considerably higher than tenfold. It would be better if more of the budget could be allocated in 2011, so that the industry can cope with the growth curve by training people to install renewable heat devices, like thermal solar panels.

Without doubt the high take up of renewable heat will provide jobs in the installation sector, rather than in the manufacturing sector where the processes of building solar panels is largely automated, at least and Genersys/ThermoSolar’s plant. However there will be plenty of job opportunities for plumbers, roofers, electricians (to install the digital controllers) and project supervision businesses.

If I assume a tenfold increase in solar thermal businesses alone I would expect at least another forty thousand jobs to be created by the Renewable Heat incentive by the end of 2015, compared with those that exist now.

I shall keep you abreast of further news as I receive it.


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