The Scottish Government yesterday urged the UK’s Minister for Energy and Climate Change Charles Hendry to rethink the Coalition’s policy on biomass energy.
As the government announces the approval of yet another biomass power station in Yorkshire, Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing called on Hendry to abandon subsidies for large-scale wood-based biomass plants that produce electricity only.
The Scottish Government last month proposed plans to remove subsidies from such plants because of concerns about the sustainability of supply – which may not be stable or secure if procured from overseas.
Instead the proposed new Scottish Renewable Obligation Certificates will support the deployment of woody biomass in heat-only or combined heat and power plants, particularly small scale off gas-grid development.
The Scottish review argued that large-scale electricity-only biomass is inefficient and would require more wood that the UK can supply.
The Coalition’s current ambitions for large-scale biomass electricity would need around 37-67 million green tonnes of biomass by 2020, while the Forestry Commission’s own estimates put the UK’s output at 12 million green tonnes between 2017-2021.
“I have grave concerns about the UK government’s ambition for biomass electricity,” says Ewing. “Even if every stick of wood grown commercially in the UK went to biomass, it would supply less than a third of the fuel we will require by 2020 if the UK government’s plan for biomass goes ahead.”
For further information:
UK government approves Yorkshire biomass power station (01-Nov)
Scottish review of renewables support boosts tidal energy generation (24-Oct)
UK government gives go ahead for Welsh biomass plant (19-Sept)
UK government gives go ahead for double boost to biomass (11-Aug)
02 November 2011