The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has published proposals for tougher criteria to ensure the sustainability of biomass used in power stations.
From 1 October 2013, facilities of more than 1MW energy capacity and above using solid biomass and or biogas will be required to meet sustainability criteria to be eligible for support under the Renewables Obligation.
These criteria mean that sources of material must be from sustainably managed sources. Any anaerobic digestion, gasification or pyrolysis plant, or dedicated biomass, conversion or co-firing station will need to meet the criteria if using solid biomass or biogas as a source.
However, the criteria would not apply to the use of biomass that is waste, wholly derived from waste, landfill gas or sewerage gas.
The consultation also proposes a cap on the support provided to new dedicated biomass power under the Renewables Obligation.
Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said: Biomass has the potential to provide a significant amount of renewable electricity in this decade and beyond. These proposals make clear our commitment to ensuring that the use of biomass power is sustainable both for the environment, and for the customer.”
Renewable Energy Association chief executive Gaynor Hartnell said: “Proposing to cap the amount of new dedicated biomass generation is not helpful at a time when we should be bringing forward as much of the cheaper renewables as we can.
“Instead of ramping up progress, Government is actually making the project development process unworkable for some technologies. The Coalition must focus not only on the tremendous benefits renewables have to offer the UK, but also on the overall framework and approach, which has become overly complex and debilitating.”