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NNFCC report suggests bioenergy could employ 50,000 in UK by 2020

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Bioeconomy consultants for the UK Government, NNFCC, have released a new report suggesting that heat and power from biomass could create up to 50,000 jobs by 2020.

The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change–commissioned research, is aimed at providing evidence for the Government's Bioenergy Strategy. It coincides with two other NNFCC studies on the potential for domestically grown energy crops and barriers to bioenergy deployment.

The analysis is based on estimates from the Renewables Roadmap and suggests employment in the bioenergy sector will exceed that of all other renewable energies due to the extra demands of feedstock production, supply and handling.

The report suggests that the largest area for job creation will be the biomass heat sector, which could create up to 30,000 jobs by 2020, with over half of those jobs being permanent. Electricity from biomass could similarly offer up to 18,000 jobs by 2020 and anaerobic digestion a further 2,500.

Furthermore there are employment opportunities for the UK biomass supply sector. These include roles in feedstock production, harvesting, processing and haulage. However the number of people employed in this sector will be heavily dependent on the level of uptake, origin of feedstocks and the supply chain structures used.

'Biomass will have a major role in delivering the UK's 2020 renewable energy targets. However there has been a lack of reliable data on the wider benefits this potentially significant industry could bring to the UK economy,' says author of the report Fiona McDermott.