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UK government figures show huge boost in biogas for electricity and heat

New official UK figures show 40% more renewable electricity was produced from biogas from waste and farms in 2015 compared to 2014.

The UK government’s annual Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES), published today [28 July], also reflects growth in biomethane to grid with the generation of heat from anaerobic digestion more than doubling.

 Key figures include:

  • AD installed electrical capacity in waste and farming increased from 238MW in 2014 to 286MW in 2015
  • Electricity generated from AD increased from 1,019GWh in 2014 to 1,429GWh in 2015
  • Electrical capacity for sewage gas increased very slightly, from 215MW to 216MW
  • Electricity generated from sewage gas increased from 846GWh to 888GWh, and heat from 67.7ttoe to 73.1ttoe as the water industry continued to drive more efficiency from AD assets
  • Use of waste and farm AD for heat (on site biogas or biomethane to grid) more than doubled from 42.9ttoe to 95.5ttoe

The publication follows the 2016 ADBA Market Report, which showed that the industry has continued to grow in early 2016, but warned that the prospects for future growth are being held back by restrictive and uncertain government policy.

ADBA chief executive Charlotte Morton said: “These figures back up the stellar growth of the UK industry over the past two years – 40% more biogas electricity from waste and farms, more than double the amount of renewable heat, and continuing improvements in efficiency in the water sector.

“However, as our Market Report showed earlier this year, opportunities for future growth are at risk. Using existing technology and feedstocks, the AD industry could be four times bigger than it is today – but government decisions to scale back electricity support, and uncertainty over heat and waste policies, mean that we could lose as much as 250MW of potential capacity over the next two years.

“That’s enough to increase our tight winter electricity capacity margin by 10%, delivered by 2018. Overall, we could meet up to 30% of household gas demand, saving infrastructure costs for replacing heating systems and reinforcing the electricity grid. It’s now time for the government to set policies on waste collection and renewable energy support which will deliver those goals.”