Biomass could play a key role in meeting the UK’s energy challenges but this will depend on the Government’s energy reforms.
The Government has estimated biomass could contribute up to 21% of the UK’s 2020 renewable energy targets but a new report by Deloitte suggests it could go much further.
The business advisory firm claims converting old fossil fuel power plants to run on biomass could provide reliable, affordable and low carbon energy for the UK and exceed its share in the energy mix.
However, the report says this will be down to the “policy framework and regulatory environment” in the Energy Bill released later this month, which the Government “must deliver” for investor confidence. The firm suggests that with correct implementation, biomass could contribute “major” carbon savings and provide “reliable generation” of energy supply even when intermittent renewable technologies like wind and solar cannot.
Dean Cook, UK sector leader for renewable energy at Deloitte said: “In a sector where government subsidies are an integral part of the revenue stream, the clarity of the regulatory regime is crucial. Government support will therefore shape the future of biomass and its potential to contribute to the UK’s 2020 targets and reduce carbon emissions in a cost effective manner.
“As the amount of intermittent generation technologies in the UK’s energy mix increases, flexible fuel sources that can provide stable and predictable electricity will become increasingly more valuable. Sustainably-sourced biomass could provide this stability.
“There are hurdles that need to be overcome but Deloitte believes biomass has the potential to help answer the UK’s energy challenges. With many of its power stations being forced to shut down, the question is whether the UK would be missing an opportunity if it did not give biomass more consideration.”
The UK aims to generate 15% of energy from renewable sources by 2020.