Belfast Telegraph

Alternative to RHI could have saved £200m, inquiry hears

The RHI Inquiry has heard opting for a different renewable heating scheme could have been better value for money by as much as £200m.

The inquiry heard on Wednesday alternative schemes had originally been considered, and on Thursday heard further details of a scheme that would have offered up-front grant payments, rather than ongoing subsidies. 

Alternatives to RHI were originally put forward as part of the economic appraisal of alternatives by consultancy firm Cambridge Economic Policy Associates (CEPA), who were contracted by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI).

The BBC reports it was shown in the CEPA report an up-front grant scheme would have delivered slightly more renewable heat, and would have cost the taxpayer in the region of £200m less.

It was also noted with a subsidy scheme - which the RHI was - there was a risk the tariff could be set too high or too low.

Evidence was put forward by Donal Lunny, junior counsel to the inquiry, who was examining the approach by civil servants who set up the scheme.

Appearing at the inquiry, Mark Cockburn from CEPA said it was the decision of the DETI to select RHI over an up-front grant option.

At Thursday's hearing it was also said Arlene Foster will be asked about whether she had questioned or reviewed documents sent to her about the scheme.

The RHI Inquiry began las week and is being chaired by Sir Patrick Coghlin, a retired Court of Appeal judge who has been given full control over how it operates.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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