UK-based economic development agency Scottish Renewables has said that the proposed government changes to renewable heat technology support are counterproductive and expected to impact the industry.
Issues related to tariff rates, elimination of support for solar thermal panels, and the introduction of a budget cap have all been brought to attention in the organisation’s response.
The growing biomass industry of Scotland uses local timber in order to produce low-carbon heat. This might be affected by the proposed changes.
Scottish Renewables policy manager Stephanie Clark said: "The biomass industry in the UK has taken a number of years to develop and in the process has created thousands of jobs in development and supply chain businesses across the country.
"Scotland has been perfectly placed to capitalise on this because of its geography, high heat-demand and plentiful supplies of timber.
"Changes proposed in the RHI consultation will limit opportunities across the board. They will also disproportionately impact the public sector, which has been the driving force behind a number of renewable heat projects in Scotland.
"While we broadly support aims of this consultation to help build sustainable markets and support the right renewable heating technologies for the right uses, we feel that a number of the proposals are counterproductive and will significantly impact the industry."
The proposed changes indicate that the UK is expected to miss its 2020 renewable energy target of meeting 12% of heat needs from sources with low-carbon emissions.
Clark added: "As things stand, both the UK and Scottish Governments are likely to miss their renewable energy targets.
"We urgently need a strategic heat policy, which includes support for a range and mix of technologies.
Plans to eliminate support for solar thermal are also largely criticised in the RHI response.
Clark further added: "The particular strengths of solar thermal panels, which are now at risk of having its support removed, include negligible running costs, and that they can be added to existing heating systems."
On 7 June, the issues related to the RHI will be addressed at Scottish Renewables’ low-carbon heat conference.
Image: A 90kW wood pellet biomass boiler of Aviemore Medical Centre placed within a prefabricated heat cabin with a boiler room and fuel store. Photo: courtesy of HWEnergy.