UK biomass generators have received a double boost from the government in the last few days.
On Friday, Energy Minister John Hayes announced a new voluntary reporting process under the Renewables Obligation (RO) for generators wishing to convert coal plants to biomass facilities.
The government says the change will reduce the regulatory burden for generators, making it easier to make the conversion, and allow it to better estimate how much financial support such schemes require.
“Converting from coal to sustainably sourced biomass is good news for both investors and consumers. It provides a new beginning for our existing power stations, enabling them to achieve radical reductions in emissions, whilst providing affordable, secure and clean energy,” said Hayes.
From next April, the government will introduce new support bands for biomass under the RO, giving low-range plants burning less than 50% biomass 0.5 renewable obligation certificates (ROCs) per MWh, mid-range plants burning 50-85% biomass 0.6 ROCs per MWh and high-range plants 0.7 ROCs per MWh.
Meanwhile, today Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker announced a new £2 million fund to support innovation in bioenergy.
The scheme is specifically aimed at the country’s wetlands, which could provide plant material for use in energy production.
“As well as providing a valuable habitat for a range of plants and wildlife, our wetland areas produce a diverse mix of clean green energy sources which in many cases are currently going to waste,” says Barker. “Our new scheme will help spur on improvements in the way these plants are harvested and used to generate power.”
According to the government, bioenergy could provide 8-11% of the UK’s primary energy needs by 2020.
Initially, the scheme will provide up to £50,000 for pre-commercial ideas. In the second phase, successful applicants from the initial stage of the scheme will be able to bid for up to £1 million to get trials off the ground. A further judging round will select successful organizations to apply to phase 3 funding.
For further information:
Cheshire energy-from-waste power stations gets go ahead (3-Oct)
UK biomass generators face new sustainability criteria (10-Sept)
Scottish Government urges Coalition to rethink biomass policy (2-Nov)
08 October 2012