Answering Questions on the Renewable Heat Incentive

The long awaited, long overdue Renewable Heat Incentive finally looks as though it will be launched. The Department of Energy and Climate Change Minsiter, Greg Barker and I have been having some indirect correspondence through my MP, Mike Freer, in an effort to persuade DECC to get their act together and get the RHI up and running.

You may have experienced the type of correspondence with politicians; you write to them succinctly making several points and asking for answers. You get back a letter which does not answer any questions but responds in generalities, which is no response to a question at all. You have probably seen the kind of response I am experiencing on the BBC’s Question Time. Harriet Harman and Gloria de Piero specialise in these non answers to questions and I often think that when they appear on radio or television to answer questions they simply recite a pre prepared speech which bears no relation to the issues.

I can give an example of what I mean

Question “Was the War in Iraq justified or did it do more harm than good?”

Politician’s Answer “Well, if we are talking about the war in Iraq the first and most important thing to say is that how much we should respect the sacrifice of our brave men and women who went to Iraq and made the ultimate sacrifice. Our armed forces have done an excellent job and have won the admiration of the whole world in that very difficult part of the world. Of course the decision to go to war was a hard decision and governments have to make hard decisions…”

Of course I understand why politicians do not want to answer questions which may be embarrassing for them or their staff, but if governments and opposition are ever to be held to account for their policies and actions, they have to answer questions properly. In the case of the RHI the questions are finally answered, but only after DECC ironed out some of the previous deficiencies in how they expect the RHI to work.

Most likely Mr Huhne will now feel he is able to respond to my questions, or some of them at least, in light of the recent DECC announcement.

The subsidies for large scale biomass have been slashed, at the insistence of the European Union by more than half from 2.7p per kWh to 1p per kWh. This is a victory for common sense; subsidising biomass makes no sense at all to me – it’s like subsidising pollution on a large scale – but at least the subsidy is no longer ridiculously large.

The part of the RHI that concerns my company Genersys most closely is the solar thermal water heating part. Now we know that in addition to the voucher that you can get (and should apply for) of £300, you will from next November get a feed in tariff of 8.5p per kWh on the hot water your solar system generates. We still do not know whether this will be deemed or metered but at that rate of subsidy you will be paid to produce your own hot water as well as reducing your own water heating bills.

I am now patiently trying to explain to Mr Barker that although there is a vital link between insulation and saving space heat energy, there is no such link when it comes to water heating. If he understands this and acts on this solar water heating will be popular and will be very worthwhile for our energy security, keeping our atmosphere clean and reducing our emissions of carbon dioxide and health harming particulates. I have explained to Mr Huhne that however well you insulate a home, the insulation will have no effect upon water heating, only space heating.

I await his reply with interest.

2 Responses

  1. Have been asking DECC for many months if thermal solar will be metered or deemed, they have not answered, should they decide that they must be metered, then all systems that have been already installed that are eligible for the RHI will have to have these meters retro fitted, which will costs more than if they were fitted at installation stage, why can’t these bodies think things through fully and announce the scheme as it will be, not produce documents that suggest meters may be required, but when asked for confirmation they cannot answer

  2. We are launching a new publication centered around Renewable energy and relevant products, will be focused on bringing the country up to date on the latest information and news, can you contact me directly please, would be interested in your input. tel: 028 91828648

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