Scale. It is difficult to value the scale of investment (capital expenditure (CAPEX) ) and operational expenditure (OPEX) that is involved in RHI. The agri-food business whether it be biomass production, grain drying or poultry production is a critical part of the Northern Ireland economy, as are the multiple other industries that have availed of the RHI scheme. Their respective values to our economy are multiples of the investment that they have their viability should not be compromised by ill-judged decision-making that strangled the incentive to invest on the basis of financial evidence which is now questioned and does not stand scrutiny.
Without using DfE databases, the table below sets out some, very approximate figures. In each and every category, conservative figures have been applied. The capital expenditure could be 40% greater than the estimate provided, below as, for simplicity it has been assumed that all boilers are 99 KWh systems.
Impact & Stakeholders. The pantomime mismanagement of the programme and open warfare not only between political parties but between Departments – mainly the Department for the Economy, strangling the local economy- would be ironic and amusing, if it were not so serious.
Locally, the RHI scheme involved (until it closed) a capital investment of about £155M and annual fuel sales (£35M) annual servicing (£5M) and £5.5M in annual interest payments. These figures are insignificant when compared with the wider economic importance and turnover of businesses who have taken up RHI and who, for cash flow reasons were reliant upon their rebates.
The implications of the 2017 Regulations are far-reaching and impact upon our boiler operators, the installers, the maintainers, the suppliers, the equipment manufacturers and the banks. The risks to a major food processor of its supplier-base being eradicated, are real. These could damage it prospects for sale to a new corporate owner.