WHA Response to Kiwa Gastec Report: Measurement of the in-situ performance of biomass boilers

Kiwa reportThe recent Government-commissioned study on the in-situ performance of biomass boilers, conducted by Kiwa Gastec, demonstrates the importance of installation and maintenance standards as an essential component of heat decarbonisation support mechanisms. Ensuring installation quality is built into the scheme was one of the drivers which saw reforms to the RHI in 2018 and now, as Government considers future heat polices, quality must form the cornerstone of any new framework.

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) has played a crucial role in establishing the renewable heat sector, delivering 7.3 MtCO2e of carbon savings in 2017 alone. Biomass boilers have been instrumental to this, accounting for 85% of non-domestic renewable heat installations to date and delivering immediate carbon reductions in the hardest to treat areas. However, at the inception of the RHI the focus was on driving installation numbers in order to establish the then nascent renewable heat sector. This report from Kiwa demonstrates that, in some cases, this has come at the cost of quality and that the RHI initially failed to drive good practice in terms of:

 Responding to the report, Chair of the Wood Heat Association Neil Harrison, said:

“The WHA has long pushed for higher installation and maintenance standards to be part of the RHI in order to avoid the issues highlighted in the report. Polices need to incentivise  the installation of appropriately sized and efficient systems that can achieve high heat loads, reduce costs for the consumer and deliver immediate carbon reductions – thereby providing the best value for money for both users and the tax payer.  

Reforms to the RHI in 2018 started to refocus support, with more stringent rules around eligible heat uses, a review of tariff levels which now avoid overcompensating oversized systems and a tightening of emission controls. However, industry is keen to take this further, delivering the lessons learned as the sector has matured.  

As the RHI budget comes to an end in 2021, there is now an opportunity to ensure that strong installation and maintenance standards are core to any future heat policies. This will deliver high quality renewable heat systems whilst enabling biomass to continue to fulfil its crucial role in the UKs heat decarbonisation strategy.”



For more information or to request an interview, please contact:

Hayley Allen

External Affairs Officer

+44 020 7981 0862