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CCC turns up heat on RHI debate to urge government action

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has urged the government to fund the Renewable Heat Incentive, and warned that a reduced scheme would increase risks for meeting future carbon targets.

In a letter to the energy secretary Chris Hune, CCC chairman Lord Adair Turner called for a ‘ramping-up’ in the pace of investment and suggested that complementary instruments be introduced to address non financial barriers, such as training and certification for installers, advice and technical support for consumers.

Lord Turner said the current renewable energy target is broadly desirable, but has significant delivery risks. “It [the Renewable Heat Incentive] should neither be reduced (which would increase risks for meeting future carbon budgets) nor increased (which could involve rapidly escalating costs or go beyond the limits of what is likely to be feasible),” he said.

“Rather, the focus should be on implementation, with a number of key risks that should now be addressed by the government in order that the share of renewable energy can be increased rapidly.”

Experts have warned that uncertainty over the future of the RHI has created a hiatus in the heating industry at a critical point.

The £27 billion tax on heavy industry to fund greener technology could be scrapped as part of the government’s Comprehensive Spending Review in October and experts have said that sales of solar thermals have dropped off while customers wait to see if the scheme will be axed.

Mott MacDonald technical director Brian Mark said: “It will be a complete disaster if the scheme is scrapped. They’ve already announced the Feed-in Tariff so orders for solar thermals have effectively stopped. There is now a hiatus in the industry just at the point we don’t need it.”

 

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