Biomass leaders call for change following UK government’s pledge for net zero emissions by 2050

A recent announcement from the Government pledged to make the UK the first G7 nation to legislate for net zero emissions.

Biomass industry leaders have since called on ministers to urgently take heed of key findings from the Renewable Energy Association’s (REA) newly-published ‘Bioenergy Strategy’ report. The findings would encourage them to recognise biomass as the most fit-for-purpose, proven solution to deliver heat decarbonisation across the UK when the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) ends in 2021.

The government policy, taking the form of a legally binding agreement, has set the UK on course to end its contribution to climate change in around 30 years.

The UK Pellet Council (UKPC) and the Wood Heat Association (WHA) are urging the Government to acknowledge biomass heat as the most viable solution to meet carbon emission targets (as set out in the 5th Carbon Budget). Furthermore, they are pushing for biomass to become recognised as the preferred, most proven and commercially viable option available to deliver future savings.

Silvio Spiess, Founder & CEO of Innasol Group said:

“We are supporting the WHA initiative as we feel that public awareness for the benefits of biomass heating must be increased. Innasol is the UK market leader in Biomass supply, delivering the best in class biomass boiler technology, engaging in professional installation training and investing the future uptake of biomass heating. We are fully behind the WHA and UKPC.”

Supported by findings from the REA’s report, the two trade bodies will deliver Biomass Heat Works, an industry-backed campaign, targeted at governmental departments and heads of departments, quangos and other bodies to propel biomass to the forefront of ministers’ agendas, especially when solutions for decarbonising heat in rural and off-gas grid areas are considered.

Biomass Heat Works will highlight the need for bioenergy, in particular biomass heat, to play a much more prominent role in the country’s total energy mix. This will be especially needed post-RHI, when consideration is given to the impact it has already had on the UK’s decarbonisation targets.

Biomass is often the lowest carbon option available to rural homes and businesses. Providing extremely viable decarbonisation opportunities for large on-gas grid installations and amenities such as hospitals, schools and heat networks.

Mark Lebus, Chairman of the UK Pellet Council explained;

“The evidence is compelling. Bioenergy could, as part of a longer-term vision, continue to play a highly effective role in cutting UK carbon emissions, become the preferred option when shaping future policy and see consumer demand increase from 5.5% in 2020 to 15% in 2032*, creating over 100,000 jobs. Looking ahead, biomass heating must be at the centre of all rural economic and energy initiatives given that the RHI scheme ends shortly.

“In the context of a climate emergency, ministers cannot afford to solely rely on, as yet unproven, technologies which are years away from commercialisation.

Biomass is already a well-established energy resource in the UK, especially in rural areas, so it would be ludicrous not to consider it in future policy. We have made a promising start transitioning to low carbon with the RHI scheme but with only 20% of targets achieved, ministers simply have not got time to deliberate our country’s future.

“We need to drive change quickly using biomass heat as a proven technology. Our campaign will stimulate discussion with Government and provide a real case for sustainable biomass within the UK’s future heat decarbonisation strategy.”

As yet, no proposals been put forward by Government as to what might succeed the current RHI scheme, if indeed anything will at all.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has recently confirmed that the UK is not currently on track to meet its 4th and 5th Carbon Budgets, the biomass industry and Innasol among them, would argue that urgent action is needed.

The UKPC and WHA agree, a view seconded by us here at Innasol, that bioenergy technologies, like modern biomass boilers and fuels, would offer an immediate, high-impact and affordable route to tackling these challenges. Not to mention that, as with other leading European countries who have seen huge success supporting their biomass industries, it could stimulate significant new business growth in the UK’s rural communities.

Neil Harrison, Chairman of the Wood Heat Association added:

“Biomass is the most workable, commercially-viable and cost-effective means to meeting carbon emission targets but the UK Government, whilst having seen some development and a shift towards sustainable biomass over recent years, still has a lot of ground to make up.

“Europe has, for a long time, considered biomass as its first choice, ‘go-to’ resource and it’s essential that our own MPs follow suit. The UK should be achieving much higher levels of renewable heat than it currently is, and we can address this by specifying biomass. Whilst we aren’t clear as to future decarbonisation strategies, now is the time to deliver a positive and targeted campaign and call for biomass to be recognised.”

Biomass and the bioenergy industry as a whole have been two of the UK’s fastest growing economies over the last decade. Creating an estimated 46,000 jobs across the wood heating supply chain.

The present Bioenergy Strategy report states that potential employment for UK bioenergy could reach approximately 80,000 by 2026 and over 100,000 by 2032, with biomass heat equating to 7,500 and 13,400 respectively.

To join Innasol in fully supporting the ‘Biomass Heat Works’ campaign or for more details, go to www.biomassheatworks.co.uk.

 

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