Changes to RHI tariffs: new advice to farmers

Jon Swain, senior consultant at FEC Energy, recently met with NFU Poultry Forum members to outline changes to the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and Climate Change Levy (CCL). Th NFU has published the main changes to the schemes and how they are likely to affect farmers.

Changes to the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)

The widely anticipated RHI tariff review came into effect on 20 September. Tariffs for all biomass boilers are now consolidated into one tariff. In addition, new biomass CHP installations will have a 20% power efficiency threshold applied as soon as parliamentary time allows, most likely by November 2017.

Further proposed changes to the RHI scheme will impact new renewable energy projects that are currently in progress or planning. Significantly, the proposed changes include removing or limiting eligibility for the use of heat for drying any material, for aquaculture, for private swimming pools or for limiting domestic heat uses to a percentage of projected total consumption.

Any projects considering these as a stand-alone use or alongside poultry building heating should look out for announcements this month, with a likely effective date in statute at the end of November 2017.

There is an open consultation on other changes to the RHI scheme, including very large plant, multiple installations (highly important in poultry site heating), environmental permitting, replacing existing plant and assessment of estimated data.

Changes to the Climate Change Levy (CCL)

In April 2019, CCL rates levied on bills will increase. Importantly though, the amount of discount available will also increase, making the economic case more compelling.

The CCL discount requires producers to sign up to energy-saving targets. Achieving these or agreeing to pay the buy-out fee will enable receipt of discount until March 2023. Electricity consumption has increased for many producers since the uptake of biomass boilers so an assessment of benefits and costs is worthwhile for anyone who is currently not a participant.

If you have removed your sites from the NFU CCL scheme or are thinking of doing so, the NFU is encouraging members to reconsider in light of these increases. The deadline for new or re-entries into the scheme is 30 June 2018 but farmers are required to apply a couple of months prior to this to get established in time.


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