Monthly Archives: January 2011


Renewable Heat Incentive timescales

The consensus among renewable energy professionals and commentators appears to be that the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) will become operational in June 2011, and that the detail of the scheme – which heat technologies are included and the levels of financial support on offer – will become known in late February. The
Department of Energy and Climate Change site simply states that the scheme will go ahead in 2011.

Like the feed-in tariffs (FITs), the RHI aims to help the UK meet its emissions reduction targets by boosting the rate of return on clean energy investments. As with FITs, this financial support will gradually be withdrawn through degression (reduction) of the levels of support as uptake of these technologies increases and the resulting economies of scale allow costs to be driven down.

Milk ‘cheaper than water’ in UK supermarkets

‘In many supermarkets you can now buy milk far cheaper than bottled water’ said James Withers, Chief Executive of NFU Scotland. Referring to a recent price drop allowing consumers to buy 8 pints of milk for ¬£2, he said, ‚Äúretailers have renewed their cut-throat battle for customers and we really fear that family farms, and ultimately shoppers, will pay the price.

The UK’s dairy farmers are already paying the price through reduced wholesale prices, and many of them are looking to strengthen their negotiating positions by diversifying the sources of income from their land, including generating income from renewable energy installations such as wind turbines, which have a negligible impact on grazing acreage. Single turbines, sometimes referred to under the heading ‘medium scale wind’, can be installed with little visual impact and without creating friction with neighbouring landowners.

“We are not against renewable energy but it has to be done in the right way”

So said Jackie Cracknell, Chair of Hilston and Tunstall Residents’ Association when Energie Kontor’s planning application for a wind farm at Hogsea Lane, Roos, near Withernsea, East Riding, was denied at appeal this week. “We are only a small group of residents,” she continued “so being able to achieve this is great.”

Food for thought as the medium-scale wind industry, encouraged by the feed-in tariffs (FITs) introduced in April of last year, gathers pace in the UK. These smaller installations overcome many of the difficulties associated with wind farms. They are less likely to cause friction with neighbouring landowners and they allow farmers with relatively small areas of land and with dwellings nearby to generate income from the FITs and make a contribution to meeting the UK’s renewable energy target.