The UK government recognises the important contribution that the waste wood biomass sector makes to energy security and net zero goals, according to energy minister Graham Stuart.
The comment came in the answer to a parliamentary question tabled by Martyn Day MP on behalf of the Wood Recyclers’ Association (WRA), asking about support for the waste wood biomass industry.
Stuart’s answer was published as he replied to a letter from the WRA calling for waste wood to be included in the upcoming Biomass Strategy last week (6 March).
In his response, Stuart said the strategy would review the amount of sustainable biomass, including waste wood, available to the UK and how best to use this to help achieve net zero and energy security.
He said: “The forthcoming Biomass Strategy […] will review the amount of sustainable biomass available (including that provided by the waste wood sector) to the UK and how this resource could be best utilised across the economy to help achieve the Government’s net zero and wider environmental commitments, while also supporting energy security”.
Stuart added that “government is engaging with stakeholders across the biomass sector including through the sustainability workshops”, which the WRA has been invited to attend.
Commenting on this, WRA chair Richard Coulson said: “We are very pleased to hear that the government recognises the important role that waste wood-powered biomass can play in achieving UK energy security.
“We also welcome confirmation that the upcoming Biomass Strategy will look at how sustainable biomass including waste wood can be best utilised to help achieve the government’s environmental commitments.
“The recent independent review of Net Zero reaffirmed that BECCS (Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage) is an integral part of the UK Net Zero scenarios, providing the single largest source of negative emissions required to offset residual emissions by 2050.
“It’s critical that the Biomass Strategy sets out how government will support our sector and protect the important baseload power we provide. In particular, we would ask that UK waste wood biomass power is supported to deploy BECCS, thus making a further valuable contribution to Net Zero.
“The waste wood biomass sector has the capacity to generate 470MW of low carbon base load power for the UK – equivalent to 3.3TWh per annum, supplying enough reliable power for 840,000 UK households and accounting for 1% of annual UK power consumption. It is therefore a vital part of the energy supply chain for this country.”