As we celebrate the launch of the domestic RHI, I am always reminded that incentive programmes can be really instrumental in providing market stimulus, but that only the most short-sighted would become dependent on them.
However, the only certainty of government-backed schemes is that they will change or end with time and transfers in responsibility. Those who have been in the industry a while can recall a legion of different initiatives which have blossomed quickly and withered with equal pace. Boom and bust is no use to business, we need certainty and the confidence to invest with a long term view of returns from which we will recover our costs.
This sounds as if I am not confident about the RHI, which couldn’t be further from the truth. I believe that the scheme is well designed, the application process seems to be simple and quick and the incentives seem fair without being over-generous.
But I am equally sure that the market must mature quickly and prove that renewable heat makes perfect sense in the long term with or without financial assistance. However, those of us spending our hard-earned cash need to be convinced that we are not financially at a disadvantage by choosing the renewable option.
Renewable heat systems deserve a ‘leg-up’ to establish the market to help the early adopters to enjoy their benefits, particularly those who do not have access to gas.
Long may it, and you, prosper.