The Department of Energy and Climate Change have recently announced that they are to introduce biomass sustainability criteria for all RHI participants from Spring 2015.
The requirements differ slightly depending on whether participants are domestic or non-domestic but in both cases there are two sets of criteria to meet; a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions target and a land criteria:
GHG emissions target
Biomass fuel must meet a lifecycle GHG target of 34.8g CO2 equivalent per megajoule of heat or 60% GHG saving against the EU fossil fuel average.
Non-domestic users with installations under 1MW can report the default GHG emissions values that are contained in Annex II of the European Commission's Report on Sustainability Requirements for the use of Solid and Gaseous Biomass Sources in Electricity, Heating and Cooling. Otherwise participants will have to calculate GHG emissions themselves, there are online calculators available to assist with this.
In the case of woodfuel, you must be able to show that your fuel has been sourced from sustainably managed woodlands. This can take two forms; either the fuel has to have come from certified woodlands under FSC or PEFC schemes, or other bespoke evidence, a good example of which would be timber traceable to a forest with a fully implemented Forest Management Plan in line with the UK Forestry Standard (UKFS). Note that in addition to the management plan, evidence of traceability will be required.
For other types of biomass it is intended that the land criteria will correspond with the Renewable Energy Directive for transport biofuels and bioliquids. Energy crops which have been assessed as meeting the requirements of the Energy Crop Scheme or equivalent will be deemed to meet the criteria.
Guy Warren, head of Forestry for CKD Galbraith, commented further on what the implications for RHI participants would be, he said:
"If you are a domestic user and the fuel comes from the same estate as the boiler is installed on or you source waste wood locally you will need to register on the Biomass Suppliers List as a self-supplier'.
"For those who buy their fuel in, it will simply be a question of ensuring that your supplier is registered on the Biomass Suppliers List. It is understood that the register will be available online before the regulations take effect next year.
"For non-domestic self-supply, ensuring you can comply with the reporting regime to be introduced will be a pre-requisite of continuing to receive RHI payments. If your woodlands are not already the subject of a long term forest plan it would be advisable to complete that process by next Spring to ensure that your RHI payments continue uninterrupted."
CKD Galbraith has a team of forest managers operating across the country who can assist in all aspects of forestry including woodland sales, acquisitions, valuations and management as well as SRDP applications.
For further information or advice please contact CKD Galbraith's Edinburgh office on 0131 240 6960