The UK government has launched the world’s first subsidy for renewable heat systems in a bid to reduce carbon emissions. The Renewable Heat Incentive, or RHI, is aimed at encouraging the installation of green energy heating equipment like solar thermal panels, wood-chip or biomass boilers and renewable heat pumps.
It’s hoped the incentive will increase the number of commercial, industrial and public sector installations by seven times up to 2020. It’s also available to householders in England, Scotland and Wales from October 2012.
Helping the UK shift away from fossil fuel
Launching the RHI, Energy Minister Chris Huhne said: “Renewable heat is a largely untapped resource and an important new green industry of the future. This incentive is the first of its kind in the world. It’ll help the UK shift away from fossil fuel, reducing carbon emissions and encouraging innovation, jobs and growth in new advanced technologies.”
Today, around half of the UK’s CO2 emissions come from heat production, most produced by burning fossil fuel, and currently the UK only produces about 1% of its heat from low-carbon sources. It’s hoped that the scheme will boost this figure to the EU average of 10%. The RHI is also expected to reduce carbon emissions by 44 million tonnes by 2020, equivalent to the annual carbon emitted by 20 typical new gas power stations.
Subsidies to be paid for 20 years
The new subsidies will be paid for 20 years on any renewable energy systems that have been installed since 15 July 2009. Payments will be made for each kWh of renewable heat generated.
Before the scheme is launched to householders, up to 25,000 families will also be able to sign up for the government’s RHI Premium Payment to help cover the price of installing a renewable heating system.
Image courtesy of flickr – julianb-