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Biomass Policy Statement

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has published a biomass policy statement providing a strategic view on the role of sustainable biomass for net zero.

The statement:

  • sets out key policy aims for biomass use across the economy, such as in electricity, heat, transport and industry sectors
  • discusses the role of biomass energy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) in delivering negative emissions in the power, industry, renewable fuel and hydrogen industries
  • outlines BEIS’ intention to develop a business model to support BECCS in the power sector and develop a BECCS policy that only rewards BECCS applications that use sustainable biomass and remove more GHG emissions from the atmosphere than it creates
  • presents a summary of research and innovation (R&I) gaps that need to be addressed to enable biomass, bioenergy technologies, and the wider bioeconomy to deliver net zero.

Just days after world leaders have pledged at COP26 to end deforestation by 2030, the strategy underscores that only sustainable biomass will only be supported.

According to the BEIS, bioenergy accounted for 11.3 percent of U.K. power generation in 2019. That same year the U.K. produced an estimated 4.7 million metric tons of oil equivalent biomass and consumed an estimated 8.1 million metric tons of oil equivalent biomass.  Solid biomass, including wood, waste wood, animal and plant biomass, represented 33 per cent of total renewable demand in 2020 with approximately two thirds being used in electricity generation and the remaining third to produce heat. Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES): renewable sources of energy, 29 July 2021.

For those involved in the biomass sector, the devil will be in the detail. The Government’s policy on biomass will form part of a broader set of interconnected policies and mechanisms for the delivery of climate change and net zero objectives.  In 2022 BEIS plans to publish a Biomass Strategy that will set out in detail the Government’s view on how biomass can best contribute towards net zero across the economy. It will outline the policies needed to deploy biomass in the priority areas for net zero, alongside the frameworks to support these policies, such as sustainable supply of resources, air quality requirements, and GHG accounting mechanisms.