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Launch of the domestic renewable tariff leads to concern of drilling standards

Publication of the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (Decc) long awaited Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme for the domestic market has led to concerns that it will trigger a fall in drilling standards.

The British Drilling Association (BDA) voiced fears late last year that the new scheme would result in an increase in unqualified operators moving into what could become a lucrative market following announcement of the RHI tariffs for domestic properties.

The domestic RHI scheme sets out the price per unit that will be paid for excess energy generation for the next seven years and has separate tariffs for air source heat pumps, ground and water source heat pumps, biomass boilers and solar thermal panels. The BDA’s concern centres around systems using ground and water source heat pumps which attract the second highest price at 18.8p/kWh.

Decc has said that the scheme is designed to increase increasing the generation of heat from renewable energy sources. The scheme covers single domestic dwellings and will be open to homeowners, private landlords and social landlords but will not apply to new build properties unless being undertaken as a self-build project.

Decc has announced that there will be a £650,000 fund available for domestic heating engineers to undertake training on installation and maintenance of renewable heat systems but it is unclear whether this funding extends to training for the drilling elements of ground and water source heat pump systems.

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