Northern Ireland

Ministers plan to shut RHI scheme and compensate boiler owners

The executive's preferred option is to close the scheme with compensation paid
The executive's preferred option is to close the scheme with compensation paid

MINISTERS have announced plans to shut down the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme and compensate participants.

A consultation on options for the future of the non-domestic RHI has been launched.

It seeks views on four options.

The executive's preferred option is to close it down with compensation paid "to legitimate current participants".

The total cost of this is estimated to be £68.4 million.

Read More: Renewable Heat Incentive: An Irish News Special Report

The botched RHI green energy scheme caused the collapse of Stormont amid allegations of abuse and political patronage.

The non-domestic scheme was suspended to new applicants in February 2016. It remains operational for accredited installations, with tariffs supporting generation of renewable heat for a period of 20 years and final payments expected in 2036.

"The executive's preferred option would see the non-domestic RHI Scheme closed, in line with New Decade, New Approach, with compensation paid to participants," said Economy Minister Diane Dodds.

"I have always been clear that any decision on the future of the RHI scheme must be fair to both the taxpayer and to the scheme’s legitimate participants who invested in good faith. The preferred option seeks to meet these objectives. In due course, new support for renewable heat would be brought forward."

The consultation process closes at 5pm on April 9.