The Renewable Energy Association has branded comments made by a report criticising the sustainability of biomass as “disingenuous”. Climate thinktank Sandbag has claimed that biomass “risks accelerating climate change”, and that heavily subsidised plans to cut carbon emissions will result in a “staggering” amount of tree cutting.
Sandbag’s report found that Europe 10 largest biomass conversion projects will require 36 million tonnes of wood pellets per year, and took issue with the fact that the wood pellets would be transported across the Atlantic to fuel biomass plants such as Drax in Yorkshire.
Dr Nina Skorupska, CBE FEI, chief executive at the REA, said: “The statement ‘Biomass risks accelerating climate change’ is disingenuous when existing sustainability practices are not considered within this review.
“Sustainable biomass power has a really important part to play in decarbonisation, by using wooden pellets that are a waste product; we can keep fossil fuels in the ground. Sandbag is ignoring a huge amount of evidence and continues to gloss over the world leading sustainability criteria already in place across the EU and especially in the UK.
“The REA wants to build a future on renewable energy and clean technology, and we are fully behind biomass power. All modelled scenarios, whether from the Committee on Climate Change, the IPCC or the International Energy Agency, identify biomass as having an essential role to play in meeting future decarbonisation targets both in regards to power and heat.
“Decarbonising our energy systems will not be realised through kneejerk policymaking. It is the job of government policy, industry and further stakeholders, to ensure that these risks are mitigated as the industry grows. This is exactly what is happening with biomass, so that as the sector grows we can be completely confident that, when used sustainably, it delivers demonstrable decarbonisation within a wider renewable energy system.”