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CHP and waste-to-energy projects win clean power auction

Biomass combined heat and power and waste-to-energy projects have made a strong showing in the UK’s latest competitive auction for renewable technologies.

According to a press release from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (DBEIS), eleven new energy projects worth up to £176 million have been successful in the second Contracts for Difference (CfD) auction. Among those eleven projects are two CHP schemes, and six waste-to-energy schemes - dubbed “advanced conversion technologies” by the DBEIS.

The dedicated Grangemouth Renewable Energy Plant will generate 85MW of power from biomass, and will power 148,880 homes in Scotland. Rebellion Biomass’s 0.64MW plant meanwhile, will power 1,120 homes in England.

Future Earth Energy, DC2 Engineering, Northacre Renewable Energy, Think Greenenergy and Redruth were the six waste-to-energy developers who submitted winning bids. The plants, five in England and one in Wales, have capacities ranging from 0.05 MW to 25.5 MW.

The CfD scheme sees developers bid in an auction for subsidies, with the lowest bidders winning the contracts.

In total, the eleven winners of the latest round of the CfD scheme will generate 3GW of electricity, enough to power 3.6 million homes around the UK. The initiative was started by the government with the intention of using the ‘competitive approach’ to push investment in clean technology.

 

Controversial

The inclusion of biomass plants, and in particular CHP facilities, has been criticised in some quarters.

Environmental campaign group Biofuelwatch has denounced the subsidies awarded to the Grangemouth facility, claiming the facility will contribute to, rather than help alleviate, environmental and pollution issues.

Almuth Ernsting, co-director of Biofuelwatch, said: “We are dismayed to see yet more subsidies going to power stations that will burn biomass and waste – neither of which are remotely sustainable. We are particularly shocked to see money awarded to a large biomass power station in Grangemouth, one which we must assume will burn imported wood pellets or woodchips, in an already heavily polluted town, said Almuth Ernsting, co-director of Biofuelwatch.

“The UK already burns more wood in power stations than we can produce annually, which causes forest destruction in other parts of the world such as the southern US. Awarding more money to power stations to burn more wood is only going to make this problem worse.”





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