Biofuels

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 7th March 2017.

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Photo of Tommy Sheppard Tommy Sheppard Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Chatham House research paper, Woody Biomass for Power and Heat: Impacts on the Global Climate, published in February 2017, if he will (a) reassess subsidies to biomass for electricity and (b) review biomass policy to ensure it delivers carbon emissions reduction.

Photo of Tommy Sheppard Tommy Sheppard Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies on energy and energy subsidies of the Chatham House research paper, Woody Biomass for Power and Heat: Impacts on the Global Climate, published in February 2017.

Photo of Jesse Norman Jesse Norman Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

The Government is firmly committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and moving to a low carbon economy in a cost-effective way for households and businesses. All biomass power plants in the UK are required to meet mandatory sustainability and greenhouse gas emissions criteria.

As the Chatham House report points out, biomass can be sourced in either low or higher carbon manners, depending on the forestry techniques and the types of wood used.

Our analysis[1] shows that sawdust and sawmill residues made up 43% of material used, forestry residues comprising branches, tops and bark made up 28%, thinnings amounted to less that 14% of all biomass feedstocks, with the remaining 15% made up of materials such as waste wood.

The Department keeps under review the level of subsidies available to biomass technologies and monitors the sustainability of biomass used in heat and power generation. We are currently analysing responses to our Call for Evidence for the future of biomass generation under the Contracts for Difference (CfD) from 2018 onwards.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/490572/Woodfuel_Disclosure_Survey_2015.pdf

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