Biomass decision will support emissions reduction
- Government decision to amend the “Renewables Obligation” scheme will limit financial support given to coal-to-biomass conversion units
- The decision, while a reduction in overall support, shows a softening compared to earlier proposals
- The proposals better enable flexibility in plant operation which could reduce coal generation at peak times
The REA is welcoming the Government’s response to the consultation on limiting support for biomass conversion under the Renewables Obligation scheme. The decision not to undermine existing biomass assets is a positive one and, while the response will limit the sector’s growth, it is seen as an acceptable compromise. The decision was taken in order to limit spending ahead of the 2025 coal phase-out deadline.
Benedict McAleenan, Head of Biomass UK at the Renewable Energy Association said:
“The UK’s biomass power industry is key to our low-carbon future. It provides around 22% of the UK’s renewable power capacity and offers a way to replace coal without compromising on our stable energy supply. The industry has invested billions in highly cost-effective infrastructure – including key trading facilities such as ports and rail freight – which supports thousands of businesses and tens of thousands of jobs around the UK.
“Sustainable biomass supports forest growth and coal-to-biomass conversion results in very significant carbon emissions reduction. Replacing coal directly can cut emissions up to 90%, but all biomass must cut lifecycle emissions by at least 60% compared to fossil fuels. Supplier forests in the USA have more than doubled their inventories since the 1950s and EU working forests have seen net growth of 38% since 1990.
“This decision will support the Government’s ambition of phasing out coal by 2025 while controlling costs for taxpayers.”
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Notes to editors
- The Government response to the consultation Controlling the costs of biomass conversion and co-firing under the Renewables Obligation can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/controlling-the-costs-of-biomass-conversion-and-co-firing-under-the-renewables-obligation
- Data on public perceptions of different energy technologies can be found in Public Attitudes Tracker Wave 23, here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/656549/Wave_23_Summary_Report.pdf
About the Renewable Energy Association (REA)
The Renewable Energy Association represents renewable energy producers and promotes the use of all forms of renewable energy in the UK across power, heat, transport and recycling. It is the largest renewable energy and clean technology (including energy storage and electric vehicles) trade association in the UK, with around 550 members, ranging from major multinationals to sole traders.
For more information, visit: www.r-e-a.net
About Biomass UK
Biomass UK is part of the Renewable Energy Association. It represents around 200 members of the UK’s international biomass power supply chain, including investors, owners, operators, suppliers and contractors from very large plant to very small.