The Cathedral of St John the Baptist, Norwich, agreed a smart deal with Forest Fuels, where Forest Fuels ‘bought back’ the cathedral’s 360 kW biomass boiler while agreeing to repay the initial grant it received in full.

The deal means that the cathedral benefits from a significant financial boost along with the ease of now simply buying heat from Forest Fuels. As Forest Fuels owns and operates the boiler, the company now looks after all of the boiler’s future servicing and maintenance.

Forest Fuels bought the biomass boiler off the cathedral, with the agreement to sell heat back to them at a ‘per unit’ rate and to take on all of the operational risks.  The move means that a team of experts now operates Norwich Cathedral’s boiler and the cathedral staff have no day-to-day responsibilities for the boiler. They simply benefit from sustainable, renewable heat.

“The biomass boiler has been good for the Cathedral, helping to reduce the costs of heating this large building. Unfortunately, because it was installed using a grant facility, it meant that we were unable to receive RHI payments as well as paying for all maintenance costs.

Forest Fuels’ energy supply agreements have proved ideal for us in many ways. Forest Fuels has given us a lump sum payment to help reduce our overheads, reduced our boiler maintenance costs to zero and removed the operational time we input. All the servicing is taken care of by experts, so all we have to do is pay for the fuel we use.”

Gavin Wood, General Manager at the Cathedral of St John the Baptist, Norwich

RHI grant prepayment

The cathedral originally received funding for its biomass project in 2009, but the grant’s conditions meant that they were not eligible for payments when the governments Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)was launched in 2011.

Lump sum payment

Now, however, the Forest Fuels energy supply agreement enables them to have reliable, low-carbon heat for the next 20 years and a substantial lump sum to help the cathedral with its other significant running costs.

“Our biomass energy supply agreement is one of those wonderful arrangements where there is a benefit for all parties, particularly the customer that already has the biomass boiler on site. We are finding that increasing numbers of organisations are keen to do this, because it makes their lives much simpler and frees up valuable capital that they would normally not have access to.
Cathedrals and churches are particularly good candidates for energy supply agreements as they have high ongoing maintenance costs, and here Forest Fuels can help by increasing their funds and reducing their monthly outgoings.”

David Newman, Forest Fuels Business Development Manager

Zero biomass maintenance costs for any organisation

Forest Fuels’ energy supply agreements work perfectly for any organisation, particularly large churches and cathedrals that could benefit from a large lump sum (assuming that a biomass boiler is already installed) and the simplicity of simply paying for the heat they use without the need to look after their boiler’s maintenance issues.