REA launches Call for Evidence review into future of UK bioenergy

The Renewable Energy Association (REA) has announced the launch of its Call for Evidence report into the future of UK bioenergy.

According to the association, the report, Bioenergy Strategy, follows the Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC) estimation that bioenergy’s contribution to the UK’s total energy could more than double by 2050.

Bioenergy Insight received a statement from the author of the report, Adam Brown, on the CCC’s estimation and if favourable legislation could help achieve it.

“The contribution from bioenergy to the UK energy supply has doubled over the last 10 years to 8%. There is potential to at least double it again, but this will only happen if the right policies and regulations are in place that enable industry to invest,” Brown told Bioenergy Insight.

“The strategy we are developing will scope out how we can continue to grow the sector and what government and industry will need to do to make this happen.”

Meanwhile REA head of Policy, Frank Gordon suggests that the largest obstacle to bioenergy’s potential is UK policy. He expands on Brown’s sentiment, referencing the controversial RHI.

“Bioenergy is already a very significant contributor to our renewable energy supplies in the UK, and studies in the past few years have repeatedly shown the need for bioenergy as a central plank of UK energy supplies and prerequisite to meeting our carbon reduction targets,” Gordon told Bioenergy Insight.

“Bioenergy with CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) offers the opportunity for ‘negative emissions’ energy production as highlighted by the IPCC just last year and with demonstration projects already in development. Unfortunately policy is the number one barrier to achieving the doubling in bioenergy we need in the UK, with several roadblocks for the technologies, and our Bioenergy Strategy aims to help unlock progress.

“For renewable heat, biomass is the largest single source of renewable heating but again faces restrictions on deployment due to problems with the RHI scheme for biomass and a lack of a route to market in the medium term, as the RHI is posed to close to new projects after 2021.”

The review itself is expected to outline a new policy strategy for Government and industry, detailing the long-term potential of bioenergy in a low carbon energy mix.

It will assess the current role of bioenergy and its potential by 2032, when the UK’s final carbon budget will end.

Also, the strategy will look at bioenergy’s potential role in the UK’s 2050 decarbonisation plans.

To launch the review, the REA announced that is seeking stakeholder and expert views on the future and potential of bioenergy through their Call for Evidence, which you can see here.

Industry and academic specialists, NGOs and political stakeholders as well as the wider public are invited to submit evidence to the review.


This was written by Joshua Heer, junior editor of Bioenergy Insight.

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