Act now on AD plans to secure the best FiT rates, expert urges

by Search Gate staff. Published Wed 23 Sep 2015 09:39
AD plans should be acted on now before rates are cut
AD plans should be acted on now before rates are cut

With just six months to go until the Government implements changes to its Feed-in Tariff (FIT) subsidy scheme, CooperÖstlund is calling for organisations to finalise and commission their anaerobic digestion (AD) projects to benefit from positive funding rates.

The leading gas engine specification and maintenance expert, which provides design, installation and servicing for sites across the UK, believes now is the time to act ahead of the 31 March 2017 deadline.

For new sites in particular, the removal of preliminary accreditation from 1 October 2015 means registering applications must be a priority. Furthermore, with a 14 week lead time to effectively install and commission a combined heat and power (CHP) engine, even sites with planning permission granted need to think about specifying the correct engine for their specific requirements.

Johan Östlund, director at CooperÖstlund, comments: “Since its introduction in 2010, the Government’s FIT scheme has provided a hugely positive financial incentive for the installation of renewable energy generation technologies. This support has seen sustainability soar in the UK, significantly reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.

“However, with degression strategies in place to reduce these incentives over time and uncertainty over their long-term existence, we need to make the most of government support while it lasts and move projects from development to completion before it’s too late. What’s more, with preliminary accreditation set to be dissolved from next month, now is the perfect time to act.”

The next round of FIT degressions, a strategy introduced to slowly reduce reliance on governmental support for renewable energy, will take place on 31 March 2017. After this date, the tariff for AD facilities under 500kW will reduce from 10.54 to 9.36p/kWh, while facilities greater than 500kW will drop from 9.16 to 8.68p/kWh.

Johan continues: “Although acting quickly to secure beneficial FIT rates is key, even more important is making informed choices surrounding AD technology – in particular when it comes to specifying CHP engines. From our experience, protecting against downtime should be the priority. Two engines are often better than one – giving the peace of mind that if one engine goes down, you’ll still generate energy and continue to make money. In fact, to guarantee minimal downtime, specifying multiple engines can provide the perfect solution for 365 day operation.”

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