OFTEC calls on new government to be ‘more realistic’

“Evidence strongly suggests that the government is using the wrong vehicle to encourage people to cut CO2 emissions,” says Jeremy Hawksley, OFTEC’s director general.

“A more realistic, pragmatic solution is clearly needed if the country is to significantly reduce its carbon footprint,” says Jeremy.

“Latest statistics from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) show just 11,149 new renewable installations have been completed since the RHI launched in April 2014 – that’s less than 1,000 per month.

“The RHI scheme has failed to attract sufficient support, barely achieving in a whole year the number of installations required each month for DECC to meet its ambitious 2020 carbon reduction targets, says OFTEC which calculates that around 10,800 installations would be needed every month to reach the government’s goal of 750,000 installations by 2020.

“The high upfront costs of installing renewable technologies, which are typically between £9k and £14k, are prohibitive for all but the wealthy few,” says Jeremy.

“Even with RHI incentive payments, most people simply can’t afford to take up the scheme, even if they want to. Exacerbating the low take up of the RHI is also the complexity of both the application process and the practical issues involved in installing renewable technologies.”

An overhaul of RHI and a boiler scrappage scheme

Before the election, OFTEC wrote to all parliamentary candidates in rural areas – where most off-gas grid households the RHI targets lie – urging them to support an overhaul of the RHI.

Jeremy Hawksley continues: “With the election now behind us, a full review of the domestic RHI is now essential. We believe it should be replaced by a more joined-up carbon reduction and energy efficiency policy that would encourage far greater consumer buy in. This would still include renewable technology incentives but also encompass more affordable measures such as a boiler scrappage scheme to incentivise the switch to high efficiency condensing boilers. There is still clearly a strong demand for these greener, cheaper to run boilers with sales for Q1 this year up 7% on the equivalent period in 2014.

“These simple changes would make carbon reduction and energy efficiency measures accessible to many more households – especially the elderly and fuel poor – which now are excluded from the RHI because of the high upfront costs of renewables.”