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Biomass plant comes under fire

Forth Energy’s £360 million (€444.8 million) biomass plant proposed for the city of Leith in Scotland, UK, is facing criticism after reports claim it will not be carbon neutral until the year 2050.

The current belief centres on the fact that biomass plants are green as the wood they burn to produce power is replaced.

However a US report by the Manomet Centre for Conservation Sciences in Massachusetts is painting a very different picture, highlighting that a ‘carbon debt’ is being created, caused by the length of time it takes for trees to grow.

The report states: ‘For biomass replacement of coal-fired power plants, the net cumulative emissions in 2050 are approximately equal to what they would have been burning coal.’

The plant then came under further scrutiny when it emerged that almost all of the 2 million tonnes of biomass consumed each year will be shipped in from North America, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe, releasing yet further carbon emissions into the atmosphere.

However a spokeswoman for Forth Energy said: ‘Scotland has ambitious renewable energy targets for 50% of electricity to be generated from renewable sources by 2020 and these plants will make a significant contributions to meeting those targets.’