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24 May 2011 06:05:31

RHI means free biomass heating systems for businesses, farmers and the public sector

Woodpecker Energy UK, a full service provider of domestic and commercial biomass boilers, has welcomed the announcement of the £860 million Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), saying that businesses, farmers and the public sector could effectively benefit from free installation of biomass heating systems and free fuel for 20 years.

The first scheme of its kind, the RHI has been designed to reduce the UK's dependence on fossil fuels. Under the scheme, commercial, agricultural and civic and public sector buildings will be eligible to install renewable energy technologies, including biomass. The RHI provides a financial incentive, with payments being made for each kWh of renewable heat produced. Tariffs for using renewable energy sources will be paid for 20 years for Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) accredited renewable heat systems commissioned after 29th July 2009.

The RHI holds real financial benefits and is a major opportunity for heating engineers and indeed commercial end users to upgrade their heating installations, particularly in off-grid locations. Woodpecker Energy has calculated the following potential scenario, in which a 100kW biomass boiler installation running at a 15% load could result in a surplus of £4,728 when RHI tariffs are taken into account:

Capital cost (estimate) £60,000
Interest (based on an interest rate of 10% over five years) £15,000
Fuel (based on 30 tonnes per annum) £120,000
Subtotal £195,000
Less payments from the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) - £199,728
Surplus on 100kW biomass heating installation over 20 years (not including maintenance) £4,728

The RHI is expected to lead to a significant take-up of biomass technology by businesses, farmers, and the public sector. Woodpecker Energy UK, a full service biomass heating specialist, has already achieved MCS accreditation for its boilers, and is an MCS accredited installer. The company is also training selected non-accredited installers to enable them to achieve MCS accreditation under sub-contract.

Woodpecker biomass boilers are designed to integrate with existing heating systems, are easily installed and low-maintenance, require minimal loading and have also been specified for use in several district heating systems. They are fuelled by wood pellets, which can be “blown” into the hopper via an air pump from a bulk tanker and burn very efficiently. Woodpecker boilers give a near gas or oil boiler experience - their controls are easy to understand, the boilers have roughly the same space requirements as an oil boiler, and the fuel (i.e. the wood pellets) can be fed into the boiler over several months, without manual refilling. When properly specified and installed, using locally produced fuel sources, biomass heating systems are truly carbon neutral and sustainable.

Tim Rook, executive chairman of Woodpecker Energy UK, said: "Biomass heating systems can play an important role when it comes to shifting away from fossil fuels, reduce our carbon emissions and encourage growth in the renewable energy sector. We are delighted that the government has now announced the details of the Renewable Heat Incentive, and that the non-domestic sector is set to benefit from this year onwards. We are proud to say that Woodpecker Energy is the only MCS accredited UK installer and manufacturer of wood pellet boilers that is RHI ready."

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