The biomass sustainability RHI regulations came into force on the 5th February 2015 with the effect that RHI participants must meet the sustainability requirements, that is both the GHG threshold and now the land use as from the 5th October 2015 for wood fuels in the non-domestic market. The eight months grace period is to enable participants of the RHI with fuels listed on the Biomass Suppliers List (BSL) to gather and submit information to show compliance with the land use. The Timber Standard for Heat and Electricity is the criteria to show compliance with land use. The sustainability requirements are, s1-s10, as defined in the Standard and these can be met by either Category A evidence: FSC or PEFC certified wood. Or, Category B; independent bespoke evidence that the s1-s10 criteria are met. Currently there are only two schemes that are deemed to complying with land use and the Timber Standard; FSC and PEFC. Neither of this schemes require compliance to a GHG threshold. Ofgem is currently benchmarking and reviewing voluntary schemes such as the Sustainable Biomass Partnership (SBP) to ascertain if this is either Category A or falls under evidence for Category B.
As a sizeable proportion of wood biomass is not supplied to an operator or participant of the RHI as Category A (FSC or PEFC), the only option is to undertake an evaluation of the wood biomass to determine if it can can satisfy the Timber Standard. Additionally, as approval times via the BSL Administrators are not immediate and the land use as a subject has greater opportunity for diverging opinions, companies with fuels listed on the BSL that are not supplied as FSC or PEFC are well-advised to start assessing their suppliers and biomass sooner rather than later.