A few extracted comments about bio-energy from the main document:
<stimulating the use of bioliquids to replace home heating oil>
"The RHI could reduce the dependence of remote rural communities and businesses on more expensive fossil fuels with a limited choice of supplier. In addition, we have been working closely with OFTEC to enable anyone who switches from using 100% heating oil to a blended fuel which includes renewable content to benefit from an RHI subsidy. The cost of converting an existing oil boiler to use a blended fuel is relatively small (around £250-£300) and may, in particular, be of benefit to those in rural communities where there is a high reliance on heating oil or to those on low incomes who may choose not to switch or not be able to access the necessary capital for a more expensive renewable system. The relatively large number of off-grid rural communities means we must also consider the potential impact of the RHI funding mechanism."
<payments to go to the producers of biofuels>
"The Energy Act 2008 specifies that RHI payments can only be made to the "owner" of the plant used or intended to be used for the renewable generation of heat, to a producer of biogas or biomethane or to a producer of biofuel for generating heat.
Of the sources of energy listed in Section 100 of the Energy Act, we propose to
support those that are listed below:
– solid biomass – as defined in the Renewable Energy Directive,20 but proposing
to exclude its use in stoves and similar applications;
– biogas – heat produced from on-site combustion of biogas (including from
landfi ll and sewage plants, and syngas), and injection of biomethane into the
• energy from the ground – ground source heat pumps or geothermal sources;
• energy from the air – air source heat pumps;
• energy from water – water source heat pumps; and
• energy from the sun – solar thermal panels, but not passive solar heating.
In addition, we intend to amend the definitions in the Energy Act to enable RHI support for bioliquids and gasification.
We refer to these throughout this document interchangeably as "energy sources" or
<some comfort that they are 'minded' only to support the use of veg oil like rapeseed, rather than a definite commitment>
In order to generate renewable heat from bio-matter, it is normally better – in terms of cost-effectiveness – to use solid biomass feedstocks such as wood chip or Miscanthus pellets, rather than bioliquids made from arable crops such as rapeseed. We are currently considering the best use of available bioliquids given their limited supply so, in the initial stage of the RHI, we do not propose making bioliquids generally eligible for support.
That said, there are certain situations in which it may be more appropriate to use bioliquids rather than solid biomass for heat. A key example is heating supply to homes that are not connected to the National Grid gas network. Up to 8% of British homes are currently heated by oil-based systems. Such installations use oil, stored in a large outdoor tank, to supply a boiler which produces hot water for the central heating and domestic hot water supply. Replacing such systems with new renewable heat installations may be more expensive than converting the existing boiler to use a fuel blended from part renewable oil/part heating oil. This would allow a proportion of the heat to be generated via renewable means, without having to replace the boiler. We are therefore minded to support the use of bioliquids where they replace the use of domestic heating oil, subject to any further developments to the contrary during the first half of 2010 in the evidence base on the sustainability and wider impacts of bioliquids.
We are likely to require certification of the blended fuel to ascertain its renewable content. FAME (Fatty Acid Methyl Ester) is a renewable liquid fuel with similar properties to diesel. It is produced from virgin or waste vegetable oil by reacting the oil with methanol in the presence of a potassium or sodium hydroxide catalyst. We are minded to initially consider only FAME blended with heating oil for RHI eligibility since this blend is at an advanced stage of development and certification.
We are open to considering including the use of bioliquids other than FAME in converted domestic heating oil boilers provided:
• they are suitable for use in converted domestic heating oil boilers; and
• there is a way of reliably establishing and certifying the renewable content of such
We also intend to implement a process for consideration of blends and bioliquids for
future RHI eligibility on a rolling basis.
We do not propose to provide RHI support to bioliquids where support for a specific
batch of fuel has already been claimed under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO).
The long awaited consultation is now open: