Region’s take-up of energy scheme is well below par

Ben Tansey, co-founder of re:heat.
Ben Tansey, co-founder of re:heat.
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Businesses and homeowners in the North East are missing out on millions of pounds of government funding open to those wanting to go green.

Latest figures reveal the region is failing to benefit fully from the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) launched in 2011 to encourage the uptake of alternative energy systems such as biomass boilers.

Despite more than 14,000 applications to the fund, to date less than five per cent have come from the North East compared to 15 per cent in the South West and 10 per cent in the West Midlands.

Placing near-bottom nationally has sparked a rallying cry from the region’s biomass experts urging local firms to benefit from the Westminster coffers.

Ben Tansey, co-founder of Alnwick-based biomass specialists re:heat, said: “Historically, the North East has been at the forefront of the biomass sector with pioneering projects in the field.

“As a region, we are aren’t performing as well as neighbouring areas, despite being a largely rural population.

“There is a real opportunity for businesses to tap into this government funding to introduce cost-effective, ecologically friendly ways to heat their premises.”

Under the scheme, which aims to reduce UK carbon emissions by 44million tonnes by 2020, businesses installing biomass boilers will benefit from the RHI for 20 years and domestic properties for seven years.

Ross Smith, director of policy at the North East Chamber of Commerce, said: “Biomass heating represents a real opportunity for many companies to access a heat source which, as well as being environmentally sustainable, is economically viable with secure supply and low taxes.

“While many companies have explored solar and wind as alternatives to traditional fuels, we would urge anyone looking at these options to consider biomass.

“The North East has the natural resources and a long history of pioneering new sustainable technologies in an industrial setting and with the government assistance available, this has become more financially viable in recent years.”

Launched in 2011, re:heat’s innovation in the field of biomass has seen the firm informing government reports and transforming heating systems in schools, hospitals and businesses. Visit www.reheat.uk.com