Back to newsroom

REA: Minister restates the Coalition’s commitment to biomass at second Parliamentary Group meeting


Biomass could meet 40% of the Government’s 2020 renewables target and provide ‘sustainable, cost-effective and low-risk‘ energy generation as part of a balanced energy mix. That was the message that the Energy Minister Charles Hendry MP gave Parliamentarians, industry and media yesterday (Wednesday 27th June 2012) at the second meeting of the Biomass All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG).

The event in Parliament comes at a critical time in the development of biomass power and CHP in the UK, with the sector eagerly awaiting the publication of the Renewables Obligation Banding (RO) Review, which will determine support levels for all forms of biomass up until 2017. 

Following a private briefing for MPs from the Back Biomass Campaign, Nigel Adams MP, Chair of the APPG, welcomed guests and thanked Mr Hendry for his continued support. In his opening remarks the Minister restated the Coalition’s commitment to the industry, highlighting the economic benefits in terms of jobs and growth that would come with increased deployment. Promisingly, he said DECC would continue to encourage the co-existence of the biomass industry and other wood industries and reassured attendees that the period of uncertainty caused by the RO Review would soon be over. 

Responding to questions from the floor, Mr Hendry was very positive about the prospects of co-firing and converted coal-firing power stations, describing them as ‘no regrets, low risk’ solutions. However many questions remained unanswered, including the extent of the Government’s commitment to dedicated new build biomass power generation, for which he sees ‘only a limited role’. Other areas of concern for the industry include support for combined heat and power and the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).

On behalf of the Renewable Energy Association’s ‘Back Biomass Campaign’, Chief Executive Gaynor Hartnell said:

“I’m delighted that the industry turned out in force to hear the Energy Minister give a ringing endorsement of the UK’s biomass industry at such a pivotal time for the sector. According to Government figures, biomass power, heat and transport could make up almost half of our renewable energy supply and meet over 10% of our total primary energy demand by the end of the decade. 

In order to realise this vision, the Back Biomass campaign wants to ensure the results of the RO Banding Review retain the confidence of the sector. However, the RO Review is by no means the be-all and end-all. Keeping up the pressure on Government over the rest of the year will be paramount to ensure the Sustainability Criteria consultation and RHI continue to bring forward projects."

In the audience were several Parliamentarians from both Houses including the Labour Shadow Transport Minister John Woodcock MP, Labour Shadow Energy Spokesperson Lord Grantchester and Conservative backbenchers David Mowat MP and Mark Spencer MP. 

 Notes to Editor:

1. Biomass All Party Parliamentary Group: Members 

  • Nigel Adams MP – Chair
  • Karen Bradley MP – Treasurer
  •  Andrew Percy MP
  • Sir Peter Bottomley MP  
  • Mike Weatherley MP
  • Zac Goldsmith MP
  • Jackie Doyle-Price MP 
  • Ian Swales MP 
  • Andrew George MP
  • Peter Aldous MP
  • Lord O’Neill of Clackmannan
  • Mary Glindon MP
  • David Anderson MP
  • Lord Berkeley
  • Graham Stringer MP
  • Barry Gardiner MP 
  • Dr Alan Whitehead MP 
  • Rt Hon Elfyn Llwyd MP
  • Lord Browne of Madingley 
  • Mark Durkan MP

2. People can make their voice heard by the Minister via the Back Biomass website Click here to write to the minister.