Sonya Bedford MBE, head of energy reviews the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme and the steps you need to take to join it.

As part of the government’s drive to encourage renewable energy they introduced the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme (RHI Scheme) in 2011 to give financial support to those producing heat from specific types of renewable technologies.

Over the last 8 years, the government has introduced legislation which sets out how individuals or companies can join the RHI Scheme and what the requirements are to ensure that the installation continually complies with the RHI Scheme. The RHI Scheme is currently governed by the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme Regulations 2018 (the Regulations). The Regulations have been subjected to a number of amendments over the years which has resulted in a rather confused set of rules and regulations.

Simplifying it down – how does it work?

If you are intending to build or already own an eligible heat producing installation you can apply to the energy regulator (Ofgem) to join the RHI Scheme.

Once you are accredited, you will be paid a subsidy for every kilowatt hour thermal (kWhth) of renewable heat that you generate. Payments are made on a quarterly basis over a 20 year period for non-domestic installations.

Getting it right – how do I apply?

The application must be made in writing (this can be done online) and must be supported by specific evidence and declarations.

Ofgem can request further information from the applicant and this information must be provided within a specific timescale. If the information is not provided within the correct timescale, Ofgem may reject your application.

It doesn’t stop there – ongoing obligations

Even when you have successfully obtained accreditation, you will still be subject to the Regulations and will continue to be under scrutiny from Ofgem. There are a number of obligations that you need to comply with. These include:

1. Submission of periodic data
2. Maintaining the equipment so that you continue to meet eligibility criteria
3. Notification of any changes
4. Making an annual declaration

In the event that Ofgem consider that you have not complied with the ongoing obligations, they are able to take enforcement action. Ofgem have the right to withdraw support payments, reduce payments and revoke the accreditation. It is therefore important that you are aware of the strict timeframes within which you must respond to Ofgem and the ongoing obligations that you need to comply with.

If you are considering applying to the RHI Scheme, or if Ofgem is asking you to submit further information in respect of your application, please do get in touch with the Energy Team at Stephens Scown.

We also have considerable experience in dealing with the Ofgem appeals process and challenging decisions made by Ofgem.

Sonya Bedford MBE is a partner and head of the energy team at Stephens Scown. For advice on how a Renewable Heat Incentive regulations or if you have a question about an existing energy project, please contact energy@stephens-scown.co.uk or 01392 2100700.