RHI heat generation dipped 44% after subsidy cut: NIAO

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The Audit Office (NIAO) has reported there was a 44 per cent decrease in heat generated after the first reduction in Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) subsidies two years ago.

Kieran Donnelly, the Comptroller and Auditor General, has concluded that this shows that in some cases heat generated prior to the reduction in April 2017 was not needed for business purposes.

In a report on his audit of the 2018-19 accounts of the Department for the Economy, the C&AG has again qualified his audit opinion for the same reasons as the last three years.

He found "ongoing weaknesses in controls in the non-domestic RHI scheme".

Equally, Mr. Donnelly has been unhappy with "expenditure incurred without the necessary approvals in place".

This year he has reported on the change in behaviour of scheme applicants following the
reduction in subsidy rate on April 1, 2017.

Since that time the amount of renewable heat
generated has fallen by around 44 per cent.

Mr Donnelly said: “The significant reduction provides evidence that in some cases, heat produced before April 2017 was not actually required for business purposes but rather some of it may have been produced only with a view to increasing RHI payments.”

He has suggested that the second reduction in RHI subsidies earlier this year could result in further decreases in heat generated.