The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) introduced new sustainability criteria for installations using biomass and biogas fuels, and producers of biomethane under the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) on 5 October 2015. To continue to receive RHI payments you must now use fuels that meet the sustainability criteria. This applies to all existing and new participants – even if you are already receiving RHI payments, you must still comply with the criteria.

Full details of the changes and revised scheme criteria are available in our updated Guidance documents. For a summary of the requirements see the Easy Guide to Sustainability and DECC’s website under Biomass Sustainability and the Biomass Suppliers List.

What should I do now?

The simplest way for you to meet the criteria is to use sustainable fuel bought through the Biomass Suppliers’ List (BSL). This lists suppliers selling wood fuels that meet the RHI sustainability criteria. You can search by postcode to find suppliers in your local area.

If your current supplier is not already on the list you should encourage them to register if you want to continue to use them. The registration process is administered by Gemserv, on behalf of DECC. For any questions about the BSL including how to register or buy fuels see the Gemserv BSL guidance.

My installation is below 1MW – what should I do?

If your installation is below 1MW and you harvest your own fuel or use waste wood, you may be able to be classified as a self-supplier. You must register on the list as a self-supplier (or producer-trader if you also buy in raw materials) via the BSL website for Ofgem to consider if you meet the criteria. See the BSL Self-Supplier factsheet for more details.

I am not using the BSL – what should I do?

If you don’t use the BSL, you will have to report quarterly to us on the sustainability of your fuel. A carbon calculator has been developed to help you determine GHG emissions associated with the cultivation, processing and transportation of your biomass fuels. View the UK Biomass and Biogas Carbon Calculator. See the Sustainability Self-Reporting Guidance for details of how and what you need to report.

Participants with installations of 1MW and above who self-report will also have to provide us with an annual independent audit report providing assurance on the sustainability of the fuels used over the last year.

If you are not able to demonstrate that the fuels you are using after 5 October 2015 are sustainable, you are in breach of your ongoing obligations and it may affect your RHI payments.