Farmers generating biomethane can claim RHI and RTFO payments

Farmers operating AD plants can now viably maximise biomethane production, benefitting from the highest Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) tariff and “top up” with additional Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) payments, as part of a government incentivised policy for decarbonising the transport sector.

“Up until recently, biomethane producers have generally either injected gas into the grid to receive RHI payments or they supply the transport sector and claim Renewable Transport Fuel Certificates (RTFCs). Combining the two historically hasn’t been done,” says Lucy Hopwood from NNFCC.

This is because before now and again since tariff levels were reinstated in May this year, the RHI alone has been lucrative enough. However, with a degression likely at the start of January, and the budget for RHI tariff guarantees becoming tight, it’s likely to be more financially viable to claim both.

According to Lucy, farmers not pushing to maximise biomethane production beyond the Tier one tariff break (40,000MWh per year) may benefit significantly from this new development. “Farmers could in theory double production, claiming RHI for half of their output and RTFCs for the other half.”

“There is also an opportunity to double the number of certificates awarded for each unit of gas if biomethane is generated from agricultural waste,” she says.

“It’s also useful to underline that feedstock restrictions were introduced in May 2018 to new plants claiming RHI and FITs, and support can only be received where greater than 50% of biogas outputs are from waste or residues,” adds Lucy.

For those wanting to compare the RHI and RTFO values they can access an online calculator to see which scheme gives the most revenue by visiting: https://www.nnfcc.co.uk/publications/tool-biomethane-rtfc-calculator.

Lucy Hopwood will be speaking on the subject of ‘Maximising support for biomethane from AD – claiming RHI and RTFO’ at the Energy & Rural Business event taking place in Telford next February 6 and 7.

The NNFCC offers advice to anyone planning or operating an AD plant, looking at what farmers have in terms of capacity or resources and advising them on what they should do.

“Renewable energy and transport are becoming more and more linked. This is why we have introduced the Low Emission Vehicles Expo alongside Energy Now Expo at the Energy and Rural Business Show next February,” says David Jacobmeyer.

The Low-Emission Vehicles Expo will have on-stand demos and presentations and the latest vehicles and machinery for rural businesses on show. Energy Now Expo will feature an exhibition, a dedicated energy storage theatre, a one-to-one advice clinic, and conference streams devoted to each type of renewable energy. Also new for 2019, The Rural Business Expo will have ‘how to’ workshops from industry experts and farmers who have implemented successful new business ventures or have integrated new projects with existing initiatives.

The event is free to attend, and places can be booked today: http://www.energyandruralbusiness.co.uk/visit/register-to-visit.

 

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About The Author

John Swire - Deputy editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.