REA Response to the Committee on Climate Change Bioenergy Review

Comments from the REA’s Chief Executive, Gaynor Hartnell, on the
Committee on Climate Change’s Bioenergy Review

Overall
“We welcome the Committee’s acknowledgement that bioenergy has a key role to play – and that it will be difficult to meet climate change targets unless it provides at least 10% of all energy in 2050. It also has unique potential if carbon capture and storage (CCS) becomes economically viable as the only technology which can become carbon negative.

“The report’s recommendations are based on a view of bioenergy as ‘scarce,’ and recognises that this depends on yields per hectare, yet neglects the question of how to maximise productivity. The review takes a pessimistic view – which sits oddly with very positive assumptions on the deliverability and costs of CCS, electrification of heat and transport, energy efficiency and grid decarbonisation.”

Bioenergy in Power
“We support the Government’s view that there is an important role for power stations using biomass from sustainably produced feedstocks.  We expect to see projects coming forward under the Renewables Obligation. Biomass performs extremely well against the Government’s ‘marginal technology,’ offshore wind, providing increased cost competitiveness and jobs, at the same time as being able to deliver predictable, controllable baseload power.”  

Bioenergy in Transport
“Despite much of the language being gloomy, the review shows that biofuels will be needed in road transport – indeed, they need to peak in 2030 and remain a significant element until 2045. If that is to happen, there need to be strong signals from Government now to encourage the necessary investment.”

Bioenergy in Heat
“We welcome the support for heat in industrial uses and the call for the Government to confirm long-term funding for the Renewable Heat Incentive. Biomass heat has a great deal to contribute in delivering cost effective renewables and carbon savings, but the review underplays this. It also seems uninterested in district heating or combined heat and power, which is a significant omission.”

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