Biomass Fuel and the Sustainable Suppliers List

The Domestic RHI, which was launched on the 9th April, is a government scheme that aims to provide a financial reward for domestic homeowners who install renewable heating measures.  We all know that the initial costs of renewable installs, such as heat pumps, solar thermal installations and biomass boilers, can be quite expensive. However the RHI is making them worthwhile options.

Importantly, with regards to Biomass boilers, there are new sustainability requirements that are being introduced in the autumn of 2014. This is to ensure that Biomass fuel remains consistent with the Government’s objectives towards the environment and a low carbon Britain.

The two main points are based around a greenhouse gas target (autumn 2014) and strict criteria on the land used for biomass cultivation (spring 2015)

Why is the Government introducing these requirements?

It is really important that the fuel used for biomass fuel is sustainable. Using fuel from unmanaged woodland could be really damaging to the environment and not be carbon neutral. The rising use of biomass in off-grid areas means there really is a growing concern that unregulated fuel could be used, undermining the Government’s RHI scheme.

So what does this mean if you have a domestic biomass system and are claiming the RHI?

What you need to ensure is that you comply with the sustainability criteria:

You must purchase your fuel from a trader registered on the Biomass Suppliers List (BSL) – The list will provide details of all the accredited biomass traders that sell fuel within the RHI sustainability criteria.

What if I supply my own fuel?

If you supply your own fuel from the same location as the boiler, you must ensure that come autumn 2014 you are registered onto the Biomass Suppliers List as a ‘self-supplier’.

A recommendation for when you are registering is to provide evidence, in the form of a forestry commission approved management plan or other similar documentation, that you have the ability to self-supply.

This is also the case if you source your waste wood, biomass fuel from a local area.

You can register here.

Do I need to do anything after I have registered?

Within your annual declaration to Ofgem, which is compulsory for all Biomass RHI applicants and beneficiaries, you have to confirm that the fuel you are using is indeed sourced from a supplier on the Biomass Suppliers List, or notify Ofgem that you are registered as a self-supplier. Not doing so could jeopardise your RHI payments – something I am sure you wouldn’t want to happen.

What happens if I don’t register and take the risk?

Within the RHI, Ofgem audit a proportion of RHI claims to ensure that they are running within the sustainability criteria. If your RHI claim happens to be audited and you are not, come autumn 2014, complying with the criteria then your RHI payments will be halted and you could come up against additional sanctions.