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Energy and Climate Change written question – answered on 12th January 2009.

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Photo of Peter Atkinson Peter Atkinson Conservative, Hexham

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how his Department plans to assess the sustainability of large-scale wood biomass energy plants of 50 megawatts and over; and if he will take into account that assessment in the potential impact on UK wood processing industries of large biomass plants purchasing their feedstock from UK wood markets.

Photo of Mike O'Brien Mike O'Brien Minister of State, Department for Energy and Climate Change

As part of the reforms to the renewables obligation (RO) to take effect on 1 April 2009, we are introducing a sustainability reporting requirement for all plants using biomass to generate electricity with a net capacity greater than 50kW. Generators will be required to provide information including the type and origin of the biomass used, and whether it was certified under an environmental quality assurance scheme.

The Government recognise that sustainability includes whether using particular types of biomass for electricity generation is the best use to which it can be put, and that this is a particular concern where there are other industries that already make sustainable use of all or most of the available supply. We will continue to monitor the sustainability of biomass use for electricity generation through the above information provided by generators. In addition, the Government are engaging with the European Commission process to establish sustainability criteria for biomass for heat and power.

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