26 January 2018

The government last week released the latest statistics relating to the Renewable Heat Incentive, covering the period to December 2017 since the scheme’s inception in November 2011.

During Q4 2017 the non-domestic scheme experienced the lowest number of applications (220) since Q2 2012. Overall applications for the year are also down on 2016, however there is a trend towards larger installations, meaning total capacity of applications is actually up, totalling 1,142 MW for 2017. The scheme continues to be dominated by biomass heat, which makes up 88% of total accreditations and 90% of total accredited capacity to date.

Since non-domestic application numbers peaked in December 2014 at 2,129, it is interesting to see which technologies have continued to grow (as shown in the graph below) since this time. There are now 371 accredited biogas schemes, compared to 27 at the end of 2015, with the equivalent of 4.3 TWh heat now injected into the gas grid. This 4.3 TWh amounts to 22% of the total 19.5 TWh from the non-domestic scheme to date, an impressive contribution from a rapidly growing technology.

Applications to the domestic scheme continue at more or less the same levels as Q4 2015, GSHP numbers are down a little, biomass continues to tail off (saved slightly by the recent tariff uplift), ASHP and Solar Thermal are fairly steady.

With heat pumps the most popular technology (also favoured by the government), the scheme supports approximately 7,000 new domestic heat pump installations a year.  One scenario put forward by the Climate Change Committee for meeting the carbon budgets (here, pg. 13) includes the deployment of 2.5m heat pumps by 2030, this would require over 205,000 heat pumps to be delivered annually between now and 2030, quite a leap from current rates.  Perhaps the uplift in biogas will go some way to making up this gap?

Author: Mark Howard ([email protected]