Back to newsroom

DECC - Hayes gives investors in biomass a boost


Departmental Press Release


Investors that are interested in converting coal plants to renewable biomass facilities, and those that co-fire a high proportion of biomass with coal, were given a boost today under new plans set out by Energy Minister John Hayes.


The Government has introduced a voluntary reporting process under the Renewables Obligation for these generators. This will minimise regulatory burdens on generators and enable Government to better estimate how much financial support these schemes will need.


Minister Hayes said:


“Energy is central to our economic recovery. We must deliver investment in new infrastructure while keeping costs down for consumers.


“The solution set out today means less new red tape for developers and enables Government to manage cost to consumers.


“Converting from coal to sustainably sourced biomass is good news for both investors and consumers.  It provides a new beginning for our existing power stations, enabling them to achieve radical reductions in emissions, whilst providing affordable, secure and clean energy.   


“I hope that by setting a simple process, we can help safeguard jobs and encourage new investment in biomass generation.”


To provide further long-term certainty to investors and increase the stability of the RO budget, the fact sheet issued today sets out full details of the new ‘grandfathering’ arrangements to provide assurance of the levels of subsidy that converted plants will receive over their life-times.


Subsidies for converted plant which switch back to using some coal will not be assured at original levels, but will be re-grandfathered after each switch at the subsidy rate which applies at the time.



  1. The Government published the Renewables Obligation Banding Review for 2013-17 in July 2012.This introduced new bands for conversion and co-firing biomass with coal at proportions over 50%
  2. The Renewables Obligation sets out sustainability standards for biomass used to generate electricity.  The Government’s proposals to tighten these standards are already out to public consultation. Read the recent press notice.
  3. The fact sheet on grandfathering is available on the DECC website