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REA welcomes UK Government’s renewed bioenergy plans

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The Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology Association (REA) has welcomed the UK Government’s response to the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) 2020 progress report, which includes new bioenergy commitments.

The UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said biomass has “great potential” and announced it is developing a new cross-government Bioenergy Strategy to explore how biomass should be sourced and used across the economy to best contribute to the UK’s net-zero target.

As part of the refreshed Bioenergy Strategy, the government will incorporate recommendations from the CCC, including the role of carbon capture and storage, UK and international governance over biomass feedstocks, support schemes, including for carbon dioxide removal and sequestration, aviation biofuels and UK production of biomass feedstocks.

The government said it would set out more details about the Bioenergy Strategy in the forthcoming Energy White Paper and issue a call for evidence.

Dr Nina Skorupska, CBE, chief executive of the REA, said: “We strongly welcome the government’s new commitment to delivering a revised Bioenergy Strategy for the UK, in line with the recommendation of the CCC and building on the REA’s own industry-led Bioenergy Strategy, published last year.

“Bioenergy remains essential to the renewables revolution. Its role is diverse, contributing an immediate and affordable solution to the decarbonisation of heat and transport while providing dispatchable renewable power that enables energy security.

“Overall, if done sustainably, bioenergy could meet 16% of primary energy supply by 2032. The UK will not meet net-zero carbon emissions without it.

“The REA looks forward to working with officials from across Whitehall to ensure the new strategy enables the UK to realise bioenergy’s full potential as an essential part of the transition to a net-zero energy system.”

The government said that while coal-to-biomass conversions have been a successful technology, delivering large volumes of renewable generation relatively quickly, since the UK Government’s 2012 Bioenergy Strategy, it has been clear that this was a ‘transitional’ rather than a long-term plan. Therefore, all support for biomass conversions will end in 2027; in March 2020, the government consulted on making coal-to-biomass conversions ineligible for future allocation rounds of the CfD scheme. More information will follow on this.