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NNFC: David Cameron, Biomass is reliable and cost-effective

26/01/2012

The Prime Minister was responding to MP Nigel Adam, who questioned Government support for what he described as "inefficient, costly large-scale onshore wind farms" and called for greater support for biomass.

In response David Cameron said: "The Renewables Obligation banding review has just closed and it was proposing targetting only the most cost effective onshore wind farms, recognising that it is now one of the mature and cheaper technologies."

He also went on to add that "we should increase support for an expansion in sustainable biomass generation, which is reliable and cost effective, and will help us to meet our renewable targets."

Nigel Adam is MP for Selby and Ainstry, a constituency which is home to Drax, the UK's largest power station. Drax is responsible for 7 per cent of the electricity used in the UK and currently co-fires coal with biomass, ranging from dedicated energy crops, like Miscanthus, to agricultural residues, like sunflower pellets and chocolate waste.

Biomass is currently responsible for around 3 per cent of the electricity we use in the UK. The use of biomass to make electricity is supported under the Renewables Obligation, which awards generators of renewable electricity 'green' certificates for every unit of power they produce. These certificates can then be sold to electricity suppliers to meet there renewable energy targets.

Consultation on the level of support given to each technology covered under the Renewables Obligation recently closed and proposed changes to the scheme could have a major impact on the future direction of the biomass industry.

Under the proposals dedicated and advanced biomass to energy support has been reduced, but a new band known as "enhanced co-firing" will encourage the use of biomass as a co-feedstock with fossil fuel in large power stations like Drax.

Experts from the NNFCC have been working closely with the Government to provide evidence to support new certificate bandings. The Government intend to confirm the new bands shortly, with a view to them coming into effect from 1 April 2013, subject to Parliamentary and EU State Aid approval.