In the latter years of the RHI, ReEnergise Projects Ltd witnessed a marked increase in enthusiasm for low-carbon heat projects within UK independent schools, spurred on by the Greta Thunberg effect and growing student awareness of the egregious effects of Climate Change.
The company’s pipeline of low-carbon heat projects soared from around 1MW in 2017 to over 20MWs at the start of 2020, with ‘shovel-ready’ projects accounting for some 9MWs. The pipeline includes famous names like Bedales and St George’s College, Weybridge, and is supported strongly by the Independent Schools’ Bursars Association.
Updates to the RHI provided the business case game-changer. Without a suitable long-term replacement, this pipeline of projects simply will not reach construction.
Last year, ReEnergise, started work to build out a similar pipeline of projects across public sector schools and colleges, finding similarly high levels of market demand for low carbon alternatives to fossil fuel heating.
The company is currently working with two Church of England diocese to assess the needs of the 350 schools across their region, as well as with a number of agricultural colleges.
While it may prove possible for one or two reference heat pump projects to progress under the government’s new and time-restricted Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, the majority will be unable to do so. As with the independent schools, they are reliant upon the creation by UK government of a stable and supportive policy environment for the commercial deployment of heat pumps.