The Government has revealed its thinking on sustainability criteria to allow biomass to get the Renewables Obligation subsidy.
Although use of waste wood, other biomass wastes, animal manure and slurry will be exempt from the scope of the sustainability land and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, users of waste feedstocks will be required to provide profiling information to enable the Government to monitor the role of these feedstocks in biomass power generation.
For anaerobic digestion, the Government has decided that the use of solid/gaseous biomass feedstocks for anaerobic digestion that are wastes or wholly derived from waste, animal manure or slurry, will be exempt from the scope of the GHG and land criteria, and from the requirement to report on mass or volumes used.
However, the use of non-waste biomass feedstocks (other than animal manure or slurry) will be subject to the GHG critieria, land criteria and the general profiling information including mass/volume. AD stations at or above 1MW would also need to provide a sustainability audit report for the use of solid biomass or biogas.
From April 2015, the biomass industry will be required to demonstrate that their fuel is sustainable in order to receive the Renewables Obligation. In particular, this is being introduced to ensure that land used for forestry or food production is not used to produce biomass fuel and then receive the subsidy.
Energy Minister Greg Barker said: “The Coalition is committed to delivering clean, affordable and secure energy for consumers.
“This includes an important role for biomass power as part of the UK’s energy mix.
“The new criteria will provide the necessary investor certainty and, crucially, ensure that the biomass is delivered in a transparent and sustainable way.”
All generators of 1MW capacity or more using solid biomass or biogas feedstock will be required to demonstrate that they are meeting the criteria in order to claim support under the Renewables Obligation.
This would cover around 98 per cent of all biomass generation in the UK.
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