Certainty for green gas industry on RHI sustainability rules, says REA

Written by: Recycling Waste World | Published:

DECC has clarified how greenhouse gas (GHG) rules will work for biomethane plants under the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).

 DECC has clarified how greenhouse gas (GHG) rules will work for biomethane plants under the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).

According to the Renewable Energy Association (REA), project developers have been pushing for clarity on these rules as they could ‘make or break’ the viability of their projects, including those already in development.

DECC said this second phase should take account the environmental benefits of using digestate in place of fossil fuel-based fertilisers as well as the factors highlighted in the policy update. However, DECC warned that RHI participants who fail to meet these criteria will not be eligible for support.

"Biomethane will need to achieve 60% greenhouse gas savings compared with the fossil grid average. This calculation is based on a lifecycle analysis, including factors like cultivation, transportation and processing. Similar rules are being introduced for woody biomass heat and bioenergy electricity technologies supported under the Renewables Obligation or Contracts for Difference," said DECC.

Chief executive of the Renewable Energy Association (REA) Dr Nina Skorupska welcomed the news. She said: “DECC has engaged constructively with stakeholders across the industry and shown that it supports the sustainable development of the UK green gas sector. Getting these new greenhouse gas rules finalised before the election is good news for the long term stability of the sector. We look forward to working with DECC to further develop these rules to reflect the full environmental costs and benefits of green gas.”

The REA pointed out that compliance with these greenhouse gas rules will be mandatory for all forms of biomass heating claiming support under the RHI, not just green gas. The government has confirmed that it hopes to have parliamentary approval before the election, with the rules coming into force next autumn. This means that fuel suppliers will have approximately a year to adjust their supply chains and learn to use the new reporting systems.

The REA and the Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA) said they have also been engaging with DECC on proposals to amend RHI tariffs for biomethane to ensure value for money. The outcome of this review is said to be "expected in the near future".



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