SWA consultation response: Renewable Heat Incentive - a reformed and refocused scheme

25 Apr 2016

The Scotch Whisky Association welcomes this consultation.  Scotch Whisky is a heat intensive sector.  Heat accounts for around 80% of the industry's primary energy requirements, and an even higher proportion of heat to power is required within the most energy intensive sites - distilleries.  Distillers have taken active steps to reduce demand for heat by improving energy efficiency and investing in renewable energy projects.  We believe that the Scotch Whisky industry is one of the largest investors in renewable energy outside of the utilities sector. 

Under our ambitious Environmental Strategy, launched in 2009, the use of non-fossil fuel within the industry has increased from 3% in 2008 to 17% by 2014. The targets currently set are to achieve 20% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. The success achieved to date is due to distillers investing in a range of renewable energy projects, such as anaerobic digestion, 'conventional' biomass(e.g. wood chip/pellet) and innovative and ground-breaking biomass - the renewable feedstock for which are derived from distillery by-products.  Renewable heat projects have been implemented at different scales, such as the 4MW biomass boiler at Tomatin Distillery (the first project in Scotland to be supported by investment from the UK Green Investment Bank) through to a 7.2MW renewable CHP plant in Rothes which is fuelled by distillery by-products from a consortium of nearby distilleries.

RHI funding has been crucial in getting those projects off the ground.  However, we believe that the scheme could offer more to incentivise renewable heat, particularly for innovative renewable heat schemes.

We welcome the Government's continued support for the scheme, but we do have concerns on some proposals.  Our response focusses only on those questions where we have particular concern.

The full consultation response can be downloaded below.