Nurseries hoping for biomass incentives

The Government's autumn statement on 6 December will be key in whether large nurseries invest in biomass, Double H managing director Neil Stevenson has said.

Nurseries including Double H, Pinetops and Fresh Acres are set to follow the example of Pentland Plants in Scotland in buying a biomass boiler to cut fuel costs, which have seen poinsettia production fall by around 10 per cent in the UK this year.

Stevenson is supplying 500,000 poinsettia this season. "We're waiting for the Government to make their minds up on what they're doing about Renewable Heat Incentives (RHI) and hope that will be in the autumn statement," he said.

"The problem is there is a good level of incentive under RHI for boilers up to 1MW but that's not big enough for someone of our scale, so there's not enough incentive to make us interested until they increase incentives to more than 1MW."

He added that the cost of a £1.5m boiler bought from Belgium or Italy could be recouped within five years.

Those who are close to wood sources, such as Pentland, or switching from oil are better placed than those potentially switching from cheaper gas, such as Double H, Stevenson suggested.

He added that he expects Christmas will see customer demand for higher-value, more packaged product increasing after going down in recent years.


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