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Proposed RHI reforms could give "vital boost" to green gas production

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New Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) regulations laid before Parliament in recent days could give a “vital boost” to green gas production in the UK, according to the Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association.

The comments come after Parliament was presented with proposed reforms to the RHI on Wednesday 7 February 2018 which, if approved, would further incentivise the production of renewable heat using biomethane or ‘green gas’ – which is typically produced by recycling organic waste or treating crops.

Under the changes – which are to face six to eight weeks of Parliamentary scrutiny prior to being approved – the Government would seek to incentivise ‘green gas’ production by restoring tariffs for heat generation.

The idea is that such tariffs would stimulate deployment and provide greater long-term certainty to both the farmers producing biomethane and any investors with a stake in the industry.

According to up-to-date figures, biomethane currently heats approximately 300,000 homes.

In doing so, the green gas effectively displaces around 800,000 tonnes of CO2 – which, in real terms, is comparable to taking almost a million polluting vehicles off British roads, a report in FarmingUK suggests.

Charlotte Morton, Chief Executive of the Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association, welcomed the news and indicated the industry was growing tired of having to “wait patiently” for further support to be extended to biomethane, despite its tremendous potential to contribute towards mass decarbonisation.

In December 2016, the proposed reforms were delayed significantly due to Brexit negotiations and the snap General Election.

“The introduction of higher tariff rates and tariff guarantees will give a vital boost to green gas production in the UK,” she said.

“We now need to see the proposed RHI reforms passed and in force as soon as possible to allow the Anaerobic Digestion (AD) industry to decarbonise the gas grid and reduce our dependence on natural gas imports from unstable regions of the world.”

Further details of the proposed RHI reforms can be accessed here.