ADBA presents new UK government with 10-point biogas roadmap

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The Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA) has congratulated the Labour Party on their resounding General Election victory and has welcomed the new government’s emphasis on tackling climate change through rapid growth of renewables.
ADBA added it will press the new Energy and Climate Change Secretary to implement its ten-point programme for green gas in the first year of government.
ADBA said that Labour’s plan includes key goals that can be met best through green gas expansion: energy independence through the Energy Independence Act, ending river and sea pollution and providing clean energy by 2030.
“The key now is delivery. We can build hundreds of new green gas plants by the time of the next election,” said Chris Huhne, chair of ADBA. “Green gas can and should grow faster than wind, and second only to solar according to International Energy Agency projections.
“Energy from home-grown green gas will overtake energy from nuclear by 2029 on current trends. Because green gas is created by using waste streams from farming, food and industry, it is a British resource that can protect us against Putin hikes in gas prices and curb our energy imports.”
ADBA has been stressing its ten key campaigning goals on behalf of the green gas sector of renewables, and says that they could all be easily implemented in the first year of a new government by using secondary legislation:
ADBA’s 10-point biogas road map
#1 Build 1,000 new biogas plants to shield consumers from sky-high prices
"As we saw following the Russian invasion of Ukraine almost two years ago now, the UK is at the mercy of fossil gas prices. In early 2022, gas prices soared to a peak of 642p/therm, sending us into a spiralling energy crisis and a scramble to reduce our reliance on Russian gas imports. Insisting that green gas makes up part of gas supply and backing new plants with green gas contracts for difference, would protect consumers and increase energy security. We can build 1,000 new biogas plants by 2030 to protect us all from sky-high energy prices."
#2 Keep supermarket shelves stocked by using UK-made biofertiliser
"Synthetic fertiliser is made through the energy-intensive Haber-Bosch process which requires feed in of large amounts of fossil fuels. Alongside the rise of oil and gas prices, synthetic fertiliser prices have risen, too. Moreover, synthetic fertiliser is a significant contributor to soil health degradation and the disruption of the vital Nitrogen and Phosphorus cycles. Digestate, a nutrient-rich biofertiliser, is one of several valuable AD byproducts. By substituting synthetic fertiliser for biofertiliser and increasing market support for its use, we reach #2: We can close the loop of the circular economy, protect farmers against volatile prices of synthetic fertiliser, and increase UK food security by keeping food shelves stocked."
#3 Clean up our rivers and beaches by treating farm waste with AD
"AD can help tackle water pollution and keep our waterways clean. Agricultural waste is often improperly disposed of and managed. Run-off of nutrients, pathogens, and contaminants from animal farms leads to dangerous pollution which causes eutrophication, dead zones, and disruptions to biodiversity. On-farm AD provides a closed-loop system for properly storing and recycling animal waste. On-farm AD is a win- win-win that protects our waterways, offers solutions for livestock waste management, and provides farmers with essential green gas energy to keep their farms running"
#4 Create 18,000 new skilled jobs across the UK
"Number four addresses jobs and the growth of the sector. The IEA published its Annual Energy Outlook for 2023, forecasting that the biogas sector will grow anywhere between 8 and 22% by 2030. At the minimum, that would forecast 500 new plants creating home-grown green gas. It is already apparent how quickly AD can be scaled up and new plants can be brought online. At ADBA, we are calling for the development of at least 1000 new plants in that time, and with it, creating 18,000 new skilled jobs across the country."
#5 Stop the Emissions Trading Scheme penalising green gas
"Notorious methane is a fast-acting greenhouse gas that heats the atmosphere at considerably higher rates than CO2. However, the UK Emissions Trading Scheme (UK-ETS) penalises biomethane as if it were fossil gas, meaning that no greenhouse gas mitigation benefits are being offered to biogas plants, which abate methane emissions. Therefore, we are calling for allowances to stop penalising green gas."
#6 Pledge to establish a plan to decarbonise farming and use farm wastes
"Farming is too important to ignore in our effort to decarbonise. Using the energy stored in farm wastes is key. Agriculture is responsible for considerable amounts of the UK’s overall greenhouse gas emissions, at 11% in 2020. Even more dramatically, agriculture contributes to 69% of the UK’s nitrous oxide emissions and 48% of its methane emissions, two powerful greenhouse gases with global warming potentials significantly higher than CO2. The CCC has already acknowledged that AD is a necessary part of agricultural decarbonisation. Now is the time to act."
#7 Ease local planning with guidance to every local authority
"Local planning must be eased through guidance to every local authority. Many local authorities have never approved a green gas plant before and are unfamiliar with the process. Thus, we are calling upon the government for its support in acknowledging AD as a vital part of reaching its net zero goals. To do that, it must issue standardized guidance to councils on new AD plants, treating them as the critical infrastructure they are."
#8 Ease permitting and grid connections
"Permitting delays are amongst greatest challenges for the industry. The process at its slowest can take several years. To change that, the Environment Agency and other permitting bodies need adequate funding and staffing. Our eighth point calls for a streamlined permitting process through increased funding to slash these permitting delays from years to months and increase application approvals overall. Connections to the gas and electricity grids must be made as easy as possible to develop the green gas industry fully. This is essential for new plants. ADBA stands four square with other renewable organisations in pressing the government to boost investment in our grid infrastructure to ensure that the most value can be extracted from green gas."
#9 Ban food waste going to landfills and mandate weekly food waste collections
"The UK produces millions of tonnes of food waste each year. Too much still goes to landfill. Defra’s recently backed separate food waste collections in the coming years, but this process has been pushed back continuously. After a series of broken promises leaving local authorities expectant and disappointed, we need to be staunch in our position that this roll-out sees no further delays. There should be absolutely no food waste going to landfills, and this valuable feedstock should be taken advantage of by sending it to be recycled through AD to produce valuable green gas."
#10 Curb climate change from powerful methane
"Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas with a shorter atmospheric lifespan than CO2 but a much higher global warming potential. The temperature response of methane is incredibly dramatic over a short period of time, compared to carbon dioxide which warms slower but lingers longer. Many of the previous ten steps demonstrate how AD can mitigate methane emissions by preventing the gas from being emitted from rotting organic wastes. By scaling up green gas, we can ensure that the UK meets its Global Methane Pledge goals and accomplish #11: help curb climate change by stopping methane in its tracks."

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