The government has announced plans to delay the date by which projects will need to be commissioned to receive a tariff guarantee under the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme.

The deadline, which was previously set for 31 January 2020, will be postponed by a year to 31 January 2021.

In a letter to stakeholders, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said the government would bring forward legislation later this year to enact the extension. It said projects that have already been awarded a tariff guarantee will be able to reapply so they can be commissioned at a later date.

The announcement was welcomed by both the Renewable Energy Association (REA) and the Energy Networks Association (ENA).

REA policy and external affairs director James Court said: “The RHI extension is fantastic news for the industry and incredibly rewarding for the REA who has dedicated a lot of time and effort to this campaign over the last few months.

“The extension will encourage new development and sends a positive message to the sector that government is committed to fostering green gas and advancing the decarbonisation of the gas grid.”

ENA chief executive David Smith added: “[This] announcement is excellent news for the public, industry and Britain’s climate targets – boosting the amount of low-carbon green gas on our gas networks provides low-carbon heating with virtually zero disruption and at no extra cost to households.

“Gas network companies are at the very heart of this work, having connected almost 100 biomethane plants to the gas grid already, and now developing plans for a low cost, low-carbon gas network through the launch of ENA’s long-term Gas Decarbonisation Pathways project.”

Tariff guarantees allow non-domestic RHI applicants to secure a tariff rate before their project is commissioned and fully accredited. They are available to all combined heat and power biomass, geothermal and biomethane installations as well as biomass installations over 1MW, biogas installations over 600kW and heat pumps over 100kW.

The majority of the 43 tariff guarantees awarded so far have gone to biomethane projects.

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