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Today the Renewable Energy Association launched a new campaign urging Government to ‘Back Biomass’ heat and power in its proposals on the incentives regime for renewable energy.


Biomass heat and power from sustainable biomass offers proven, practical, secure low carbon energy as part of a balanced energy mix.  

The Back Biomass campaign aims to deliver the clear message to Government that it must not let the opportunity to reap the benefits of this flexible and affordable technology slip away as they fix the details and levels of future support for planned projects over the coming months.

Support levels

The Government has committed to making decisions on the Renewables Obligation (RO) by the end of 2011, to set support levels applicable to renewable electricity generation and combined heat and power from 2013 to 2017.

To ensure confidence is maintained and projects proceed, the biomass sector is calling on Government to ensure that decisions taken not only provide sufficient levels of support to leverage the huge sums of private investment required, but are taken on time.

Until industry and investors receive clarity, many projects hang in the balance.


Rigorous new Government sustainability criteria will require generators to demonstrate at least a 60% reduction in Green House Gases in order to be eligible for financial support.

Industry welcomes this measure, which will drive up standards in the sustainability and conservation of forestry, helping to ensure that biomass is cleaner and more sustainable than it has ever been.

The campaign launches with the support of Energy Minister Charles Hendry MP who said:

“We want a balanced energy portfolio and we want biomass to play a central role in this. Biomass electricity is both predictable and controllable and I am very interested in the potential for co-firing and conversion. I am confident that the bioenergy industry can deliver our ambition for around 6GW of biomass electricity by 2020, as set out in our Renewables Roadmap.” 

“The UK industry has been at the forefront in ensuring biomass electricity is sustainable and that it delivers real greenhouse gas savings. The very clear sustainability criteria we now have in place will mean we know where biomass has come from and how it has been grown”.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of biomass as a practical, sustainable, renewable part of the UK energy mix.  It calls on the Government to create the certainty industry needs to invest, in order to help achieve the targets set out in the Government’s Renewables Road map.  

Gaynor Hartnell, Chief Executive of the REA
said about the campaign:

“We believe that the UK needs a balanced energy mix, drawing on all forms of renewable energy.  There is no ‘silver bullet’.  However our campaign aims to highlight the unique qualities of biomass heat and power in terms of strengthening energy security, facilitating the integration of other forms of low carbon generation on the grid, rural diversification and contributing to the low carbon economy.  It is vital that the Government provides certainty for the industry to help the industry invest and ensure that this opportunity isn’t missed.”

For enquiries, please contact:

Paul Thompson (REA): ; +44 (0)20 7925 3580; +44 (0)7980 264580

Jessica Lennard (Edelman): ; +44 (0)20 3047 2204; +44(0)778602 5652

Peter Bellini (Edelman): ; +44 (0)20 3047 2159; +44 (0)7980 703 619  

Notes to Editor

  • Companies directly involved in the campaign include: British Sugar, Drax. E.ON, Future Biogas, Estover Energy and RES. These businesses may be available for comment on request via the above contact personnel.
  • The ‘Back Biomass’ campaign website contains a range of useful case studies and fact sheets to inform decision makers about the benefits of biomass and assist supporters in arguing the case for biomass.

About Biomass Heat and Power

Biomass heat and power (including installations producing electricity, and those which also produce heat) is a uniquely useful renewable technology:

  • It can be easily switched on and off to balance the grid as more intermittent or inflexible low carbon technologies come online.
  • It offers valuable energy security, with a broad variety of reliable fuel sources.
  • Notable potential exists for the creation and expansion of green jobs and skills.
  • Most importantly perhaps, this clean technology delivers value for money for the British taxpayer, offering great carbon savings with considerably lower capital and operating costs than other comparable options, particularly when heat and power are generated together in one highly efficient process or when existing fossil fuel plants are converted to biomass fuel use.

About REA - the voice of the renewables industry in the UK

  • The Renewable Energy Association represents renewable energy producers and promotes the use of all forms of renewable energy in the UK.
  • A trusted voice for the industry, we represent the full range of the renewable energy technologies across power, heat, transport and renewable gas.
  • Our ever-increasing membership ranges from major multinationals through to sole traders.