The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) confirmed this week that the Northern Ireland renewable heat incentive (RHI) scheme for domestic and non-domestic installations will be suspended to new applicants from midnight tonight.
Ofgem, which administers the scheme on DETI’s behalf through its E-Serve delivery arm, said: “We will continue to process properly made applications for installations that have been fully installed and commissioned and which are submitted by 23:59 on 29 February 2016.”
Both domestic and non-domestic schemes affected by today’s change. When he announced the closure earlier this month, Stormont’s enterprise, trade and investment minister, Jonathan Bell, said: “It is estimated that around 6% of NI’s heating needs are now provided through renewable technologies. The Executive’s target to achieve 4% renewable heat has been exceeded.
“However, this increased demand means the available budget for new applications has been exhausted. To meet RHI commitments for existing installations, significant levels of additional funding will have to be found from within the NI Executive’s budget for the next five years to address the current deficit. To prevent further overspend I must bring forward legislation to the Assembly to close both schemes to new applications.”
Bell originally planned to close the scheme on the earliest possible date following his announcement, which would have been 16 February 2016, but extended the closure date by a fortnight following outcry from potential applicants.
He added: “My Department will be carrying out a comprehensive review and audit, to ensure that the operation of the schemes is in compliance with the scheme requirements and the underpinning legislation.”
The RHI scheme in Great Britain is unaffected by today’s change.