Oil heating more compatible with off-grid homes

OFTEC director general Jeremy Hawksley

Jeremy Hawksley, OFTEC director general

The proposed Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is unlikely to tackle the problem of carbon emissions from rural homes, according to OFTEC.

In a written response to the RHI consultation, OFTEC stated support for the principle behind the tariff, but was concerned that the practical impact of RHI will be to increase, not decrease, CO2 emissions from rural homes, because the incentivised technologies will run on carbon-rich electricity.

The statement also provided statistics which showed that the relevant technologies, including air and ground source heat pumps, could emit twice as much CO2 as B30K bioliquid fuel up to 2020-21. Other concerns include the cost of installing renewable technologies, when compared to converting an existing oil boiler for biofuels.

OFTEC director general, Jeremy Hawksley said: “In its current form, the RHI strategy incentivises renewables such as biomass and air source heat pumps, which can have high carbon savings. However, this is only true if they run efficiently and the electricity they use is sourced from renewable sources. Our response demonstrates that bio-liquids would be more effective at reducing carbon emissions in off-gas areas, and much cheaper and simpler for homeowners to adopt. With the weather growing colder I’m reminded of the harsh winter of 2010/11 when heat pumps performed poorly, causing higher running costs w hile failing to keep homes warm. By contrast, oil heating is much more compatible with rural homes off the mains gas network.”

For the distributor reaction to the RHI, see the January issue of Fuel Oil News

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