Energy Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 9:00 pm on 22nd October 2008.

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Photo of Lord Teverson Lord Teverson Whip, Spokesperson in the Lords, Environment, Food & Rural Affairs 9:00 pm, 22nd October 2008

My Lords, I do not intend to go into huge detail, as the noble Lord, Lord Jenkin, has done so impressively on the past three amendments. The tables for renewable energy production in the United Kingdom show, always surprisingly, that biogas plays a major part. We all think of wind power, solar and all the other, very visual, technologies. Anaerobic digestion will, we hope, be even more important in the future and, again, continental Europe—particularly Germany—is well ahead of us. Waste tips have been a major source of biogas. In the past that has been a considerable problem because it involves methane, which is both a powerful greenhouse gas and very explosive. That has been dangerous for people living near waste tips that have not been well looked after, although that is not so much of a problem now. The other area is farm waste.

Biogas sometimes has been quite considerably wasted by flaring. As my noble friend Lord Redesdale said when a similar amendment was spoken to in Committee, we do not now allow flaring on oil installations. It is quite staggering that we still now waste this resource by, on occasion, burning it off on land.

The amendment would ensure that the renewables obligation regime is applied to biogas. I noted the Government's comments in our previous debate but we seek further reassurance. We need to be able to feed biogas into the local grid and take advantage of the renewables obligation certificates. We should harness this form of renewable energy. It should be allowed to thrive and take its rightful place in the country's renewable energy mix. The amendment's provisions would be particularly useful as regards combined heat and power. I beg to move.