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REA hits back at biomass ‘pseudo-science’

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The Renewable Energy Association (REA), whose members include both large and small biomass developers and suppliers, has released a private letter sent in April to three green campaign groups which appealed for a review of their strategy of “promoting … misinformation” and “deliberately facilitating confusion” about biomass among the general public.

The letter, signed by REA CEO Gaynor Hartnell, requested a meeting to initiate “positive dialogue” between industry and campaigners. A date is yet to be agreed.

Instead, in a letter to The Times newspaper published 2 May, the heads of Greenpeace, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Friends of the Earth joined with the wood panel industrial lobby to claim extra demand for wood was impacting both wood products industries and environmental sustainability.

Industry leaders have poured cold water on the claims however as, through new government sustainability criteria and revenues for forest owners, bioenergy is delivering increases in active forestry management, wood supply and major carbon emissions reductions around the world.

‘I’ve fought battles alongside these NGOs for 18 years to promote renewable energy and combat climate change.  I’m extremely disappointed to see organisations of this stature peddling pseudo-science that they must know does not represent the real world of solid biomass supply,’ adds Hartnell.

‘The UK’s energy consumers need to know the facts. They are facing rising bills, a need to decarbonise the economy and an impending shortfall in electricity generating capacity. We only have a few options that can provide cost-competitive, baseload renewable power which are rapidly deployable. It’s time these NGOs told the truth and started to live in the real world.’