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Renewables stimulus required

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne has presented the UK’s fourth carbon budget, which sets the challenging goal of cutting CO2 emissions by 50 percent on 1990 levels by 2027, en route to emissions cuts of at least 80 percent by 2050.

While Mr Huhne describes a 2027 Britain transformed for the better with warmer homes transformed by green energy, in reality the push towards achieving these targets is off to a slow start, with the recent disappointing introduction of the RHI.

The UK currently has four million off-gas homes largely reliant on fossil fuels that could be tackled straight away by switching to renewable forms of heating, yet the introduction of the RHI for domestic installations has now been pushed back to October 2012, while the benefits of air source heat pumps in terms of cost and ease of installation have been overlooked entirely for the moment.

The renewables industry is more than ready to make the transition to a low carbon economy; we have the products, the expertise and the people. But thanks to the gaps in the recent RHI announcement, what we don’t currently have is sufficient market stimulus, and this really risks a major slowdown in the domestic renewable heat sector - potentially damaging the UK’s transition to a low carbon economy. The industry needs clarification on these gaps in the scheme at the earliest opportunity.

A further announcement giving details of the RHI’s Renewable Heat Premium Payments is due this month but details of the full domestic RHI tariffs and eligibility criteria are not expected to be decided upon until after a further consultation later this year.

Chris Davis, director for business development at Dimplex Renewables