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REA Report: ‘Renewable Energy: Made in Britain’ highlights contribution of biomass to UK PLC


The Back Biomass Campaign welcomes the findings of a ground-breaking new report released by the Renewable Energy Association (REA) yesterday. Renewable Energy: Made in Britain is the first comprehensive analysis of the economic and employment benefits of the renewable energy sector in the UK. As well as demonstrating the crucial importance of the renewables sector to UK PLC, the report also highlights the key role played by the biomass sector in the UK economy.

Launched at RES’s award winning low-carbon headquarters by Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change, Greg Barker MP, the report finds that growth in the UK renewables sector has far outstripped growth across the UK economy as a whole (11% compared to 1.4% between 2009/10 and 2010/11).
The findings have been welcomed by Government and industry as a landmark analysis of the current and future contribution of the renewables industry to economic growth.  

Speaking at the launch of the report, Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change, Greg Barker MP said:

"Renewable energy not only provides us with clean and secure energy that cuts our reliance on imported fossil fuels - it generates billions of pounds of investment and potentially hundreds and thousands of jobs and is a key growth sector for the UK economy."
Commenting on the release of the report, REA Chief Executive Gaynor Hartnell said:

"Harnessing our renewables creates employment, and means that rather than spending money on energy imports we can keep it circulating in the UK economy," "When it comes to the employment, economic and energy challenges we face, the answer is clear - make it renewable, and make it in Britain."

The contribution of bioenergy industries

The report describes bioenergy as the “largest contributor to the UK renewable electricity supply” and explains that roughly 20% of this is currently supplied by 15 biomass power stations.
On biomass resources, the report also observes that that 80% of UK woodland is privately owned, with only half of this actively managed. A mature wood-fuel supply chain would bring a greater proportion of this woodland back into active management, with particular benefits for wildlife and the public. This follows calls from the Back Biomass campaign for the development of a UK biomass energy supply chain with a view to incentivising better managed woodland and the integration of biomass crops into farming crop cycles.

Highlighting the National Farmers Union suggestion that significant potential exists for “both energy crops and straw to provide new market opportunities for farmers,” the report highlights the need for a stable policy framework for biomass power and biomass CHP to ensure UK farmers can benefit from long-term supply contracts for straw and energy crops.
Echoing concerns raised by the Back Biomass Campaign, the report argues that the “CHP uplift under the RO” should remain in place until 2017 in order to “allow current projects, which have a long lead-in time, to proceed.”

The report follows two recent opinion polls showing growing public support for the renewables sector. One of which, carried out by YouGov for Friends of Earth, revealed that 85 per cent of people in the UK wanted to see the Government increase the use of renewables and reduce its consumption of overseas gas.
If you wish to make their voice heard to the Minister on the importance of the UK Government Backing Biomass, you can do so through the Back Biomass website click hereto write to the Minister.