UK Unlocks Its Biomass Potential

By establishing a new Biomass Energy Center to provide expert information and advice, the UK is on its way to embracing the potential of biomass to both supply energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The plan states that energy from crops, trees and waste need grant support for biomass supply chains; the government will consider using biomass heating in Government buildings. Measures also include a capital grant scheme for biomass boilers.

The report, launched by Ministers from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), forms the Government’s response to the Biomass Task Force, which presented recommendations last October stating that biomass is particularly suited for generating heat and said that electricity generated from biomass and combined heat and power (CHP) are important to the future. “There is enormous potential in biomass to generate renewable energy, to help the environment and to provide another possible market for our farmers. We know that biomass is not the answer to every issue facing us but we should be getting much more from this valuable resource,” said Lord Bach, Defra’s Minister for Sustainable Farming and Food. “This action plan provides us with a clear path forwards. It has been drawn up by a cross-Government team, building on the excellent work done by the Biomass Task Force.” “We are aiming for 10% of our electricity to come from renewable sources by 2010 and double that by 2020 so biomass will have an increasingly important role to play in the UK’s future energy mix,” said Minister for Energy, Malcolm Wicks. “The plans we are announcing and the Biomass strategy that is being developed will supplement initiatives such as the DTI’s Low Carbon Building program and the bioenergy capital grants scheme to further increase the use of biomass technology.” The Biomass Task Force made 42 recommendations to Government. The Government’s Response accepts most of these, setting out plans for implementing them. A number of initiatives have already begun. The action plan is primarily for England. However the Devolved Administrations of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have helped in its development and it will also contribute to a UK biomass strategy, which will be published in the next year.

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