UK pledges £10m for EU bioenergy innovation

The UK has pledged up to £10 million for a European scheme aimed at encouraging the development of innovative bioenergy projects. The ERA-NET Plus BESTF scheme, worth around €47 million […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

The UK has pledged up to £10 million for a European scheme aimed at encouraging the development of innovative bioenergy projects.

The ERA-NET Plus BESTF scheme, worth around €47 million (£38.3m) worth of public money, is expected to stimulate up to €100 million (£81.5m) of industry-led bioenergy projects. It is supported by eight European countries, which includes the UK, Finland, Sweden, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Switzerland and Portugal.

Bioenergy, a form of renewable energy that is derived from organic sources, can be used to produce heat, electricity or transport fuel and is believed to be one of the most versatile forms of low carbon and renewable generation.

Energy Minister John Hayes said: “Bioenergy has an important role to play in our energy mix, helping cut carbon as well as support jobs and spur on economic growth on a national and international scale. Britain has been the global engine room of innovation for centuries. I want to see that rich tradition continue in the energy sector. This scheme will help businesses develop a range of different innovative projects by combining public and private sector investment to make the most of this exciting technology.”

DECC has planned to commit up to £6 million for the scheme over the next two to three years, with the Government-backed Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) together contributing a further £4 million.

Firms will be able to put forward proposals for innovative projects early next year and grants are expected to be made available in early 2014.