13/03/2020

RHI Report To Be Unveiled At Stormont

A report into the botched energy scheme that brought down Stormont's power-sharing Executive in 2017 is due to be published today.

The findings of Sir Patrick Coghlin's Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) inquiry will be outlined at Stormont.

The 'cash-for-ash' scheme launched in Northern Ireland in 2012 as a way to encourage the use of renewable energy sources among businesses.

Applicants would install an Ofgem approved boiler, with hopes it would contribute towards the government's aim of having 4% of Northern Ireland's heat generated by renewable energy by 2015.

The non-domestic scheme then closed in 2016 amid concerns about potential costs growing out of control. A single flat-rate subsidy was offered with the 20-year guarantee, meaning costs would quickly accumulate when applications spiked in 2015.

When the report is published today, First Minister and DUP Leader Arlene Foster is likely to face scrutiny for her part as minister in the Enterprise Department.

Allegations suggest that DUP special advisers conspired to delay cost controls in the lucrative scheme, with overspends estimated at up to £700 million over 20 years, the bill for which would be covered by public funds.

The report is understood to run over 550 pages and was delivered to the lawyers for key witnesses this morning.


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