By Kari Williamson
The Back Biomass campaign aims to make it clear to the Government that it must not let the opportunity to reap the benefits of biomass slip away as it determines the details and levels of future support for planned projects over the coming months.
The Government has committed to making decisions on the Renewables Obligation (RO) by the end of 2011, to set support levels applicable to renewable electricity generation and combined heat and power from 2013 to 2017.
To ensure confidence is maintained and projects proceed, the biomass sector is calling on Government to ensure that decisions taken not only provide sufficient levels of support to leverage the huge sums of private investment required, but are taken on time. Until industry and investors receive clarity, many projects hang in the balance, REA says.
Government sustainability criteria will require biomass generators to demonstrate at least a 60% reduction in Green House Gases in order to be eligible for financial support.
REA welcomes the measure, which will drive up standards in the sustainability and conservation of forestry, helping to ensure that biomass is cleaner and more sustainable than it has ever been.
Energy Minister Charles Hendry MP, says: “We want a balanced energy portfolio and we want biomass to play a central role in this. Biomass electricity is both predictable and controllable and I am very interested in the potential for co-firing and conversion. I am confident that the bioenergy industry can deliver our ambition for around 6 GW of biomass electricity by 2020, as set out in our Renewables Roadmap.
“The UK industry has been at the forefront in ensuring biomass electricity is sustainable and that it delivers real greenhouse gas savings. The very clear sustainability criteria we now have in place will mean we know where biomass has come from and how it has been grown.”
Gaynor Hartnell, Chief Executive of the REA, adds: “It is highly significant that the Government has just increased its ambition for power generation from biomass. There are a number of large projects in development that would produce very cost-effective renewable electricity and can deliver steady baseload power. Their contribution towards our legally-binding renewables target is essential. They had been delayed by a policy glitch, but the new Government swiftly resolved this.
“Provided support levels are maintained in the forthcoming banding review, Government can look forward to these plants making their contribution towards meeting the UK’s targets.”