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Biomass campaign group calls on UK Government to extend RHI scheme

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Campaign group Biomass Heat Works! has called on the UK Government to extend the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme beyond 2021.

The statement follows the publication of a new bioenergy report on 5 September by the Renewable Energy Association (REA). Leaders from the biomass industry including the UK Pellet Council (UKPC) and Wood Heat Association (WHA), which are behind the Biomass Heat Works! campaign, are urging ministers to act immediately. The organisation is calling on the government to specify biomass as ‘the most proven solution for addressing heat decarbonisation’, particularly in rural areas.

An extension of the RHI scheme would allow new renewable heat projects to be funded, supporting the UK in meeting its EU targets by 2020 (12% heat source) and its net zero pledge. At present, no measures have been tabled by the UK Government for when the RHI scheme closes to new applications in 2021.

Mark Lebus, chair of the UK Pellet Council said: “Time is running out and this latest report backs our call for the government to fully support and invest in the UK’s biomass heat industry.

“Ministers need to address the heat decarbonisation issue here and now, and enable the most effective, commercially-ready and proven low-carbon solution, i.e. biomass, to play an integral role in delivering their objectives and reducing carbon emissions.

“The biomass heat industry supports circa 700+ supply chain companies and this must be protected, especially in rural communities where biomass can create a workable circular economy across farming, agriculture and forestry sectors. It is often the most viable and lowest carbon option available to businesses and households in off-gas grid areas.”

According to Biomass Heat Works!, renewable heat generation increased by 11% in 2018 with nearly 50% attributed to biomass. However, the UK is lagging behind its European Union counterparts.