£25m boost for renewable heating
A new Government incentive scheme promoting renewable heating has been launched in Northern Ireland.
Around £25 million is earmarked up to 2015 for long-term financial support for businesses wanting to switch from conventional heating to green energy sources such as biomass, heat pumps and solar hot water panels.
Enterprise minister Arlene Foster said: "The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is a groundbreaking scheme for Northern Ireland. It will help support our aim of increasing levels of renewable heating to 10% by 2020 by supporting over 20,000 new installations.
"Now that it is in place, local businesses, and other non-domestic properties, can take advantage of the incentives for using renewable heating solutions and should see a return on their investment."
Payments will be made every three months for the lifetime of the installation (maximum 20 years) and will be determined by the heat output and tariff per unit of energy generated.
The scheme is open to all non-domestic properties and will support installations commissioned since September 1 2010. It will be administered by the Great Britain energy regulator Ofgem.
The minister added: "The development of this market will have real benefits for Northern Ireland's energy security by reducing dependence on fossil fuels. The sector also has the potential for new jobs and industries."
The incentive is expected to be extended to the domestic market by autumn next year.