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12/02/2016- Press release issued on behalf of Biomass Energy – Northern Ireland (BENI):
Closure of Renewable Heat Incentive is severe blow to NI jobs
Up to 2000 jobs may be lost, with confidence in the renewables sector damaged
BENI calls on DETI Minister to consult with sector on achieving 2020 heat target of 10%
Belfast, Friday 12th February 2016: The announcement this week by Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) Minister Jonathan Bell on the intention to close the domestic and non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) schemes in Northern Ireland is a severe blow to the emerging renewable energy sector in Northern Ireland, according to suppliers group Biomass Energy NI. BENI chairman John Martin said this news was totally unexpected, and follows discussions with DETI on the RHI, as recently as January 8th, where there was no indication that the future of the NI scheme was in doubt.
Commenting, John Martin said: “This RHI cut-off is like a guillotine to the renewable energy sector, and follows closely the changes in supports to wind and renewable obligations certificates. We are extremely disappointed that DETI has not managed the policy and applications in such a way that would provide longer term certainty to investors and developers in the market. Instead, we had positive changes to the RHI scheme announced in September 2015 which came into effect in November 2015. This resulted in a doubling of applications in a single month to 18 November compared to the previous three years.”
Mr Martin continued: “DETI says that around 6% of NI’s heating needs are now provided through renewable technologies, that the Executive’s target to achieve 4% renewable heat (a Programme for Government target) has been exceeded and that this increased demand means the available budget for new applications has been exhausted. DETI’s analysis should have predicted this outcome. Instead, the Minister says ‘significant levels of additional funding will have to be found from within the NI Executive’s budget for the next five years to address the current deficit’. This is absolutely no comfort to the renewables sector, and in particular suppliers of wood chip and pellets, biogas producers and heating plant providers, investors and other developers who have been steadily building and investing in the renewable heat sector. Heat system installers have quotations out with customers, deposits for boilers in new dwellings and commercial properties which are not yet ready to install but have monies paid. Thousands of jobs are also at risk.
Mr Martin added: “And yesterday we had a further announcement from the Minister that the closure date will be extended by two weeks to 29th February. This extension is very little comfort to our members and other sector investors who have committed significant sums in the renewable heat sector. If no RHI is available on these systems the customers will probably not proceed with the installation. Basically the market for biomass systems in NI is dead.”
Mr Martin concluded: “A further 4% heat from renewables is still required to reach NI’s 2020 target. This won’t be achieved if the RHI is closed. The UK Government’s Spending Review and Autumn Statement announced on 25th November 2015 included an energy package with Increased funding for the Renewable Heat Incentive to £1.15 billion in 2021 to ensure the UK continues progress towards its climate goals. The NI Government’s announcements this week contradicts the wider UK policy. Therefore, BENI calls on the Minister and the Government to consult urgently with the heat sector to plan an appropriate way forward.”
John Martin (BENI Chairman) 078 08060037 is available for interview.
For reference, issued by
Orlaith McVeigh | Action Renewables (BENI Member)
e. Orlaith.McVeigh@actionrenewables.co.uk; m. 028 9590 1197
05/02/2016 Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister, Jonathan Bell has announced his intention to close the domestic and non domestic (RHI) schemes. The closure of funding for biomass projects is a huge blow to the Renewables sector in Northern Ireland.
- DETI Press Release Read more