An independent report has recommended biomass as a cost-effective way to meet UK renewable energy targets.
Knock on wood: is biomass the answer to 2020? published by Deloitte suggests biomass could become an increasingly important part of the UK’s energy mix.
Renewable Energy Association head of policy Paul Thompson said: “This report is extremely timely, with critical decisions to be taken by government over the next few months.
“Biomass power and CHP can make a strong contribution to energy security and carbon savings – and at an affordable cost.
“The report clearly details the role that biomass could play in meeting UK renewable energy targets and what needs to be done to ensure this potential is fulfilled.”
The UK is legally committed to sourcing 15 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.
Electricity from biomass could potentially contribute up to 21 per cent of this.
Deloitte suggests biomass could comfortably go beyond this figure through further conversions of coal-fired plants, many of which are currently set for closure by the end of 2015 under EU air quality regulations.
Energy regulator Ofgem warned in October that closures may lead to an energy shortfall as early as 2015, with surplus capacity reduced to as little as 4 per cent – down from 14 per cent currently.
Therefore retaining existing capacity on the grid and connecting new generators will be essential to keep the lights on, the report notes.
The report comes as a number of coal-fired power stations reveal plans to convert existing facilities to biomass feedstock, and plans for a number of new generators are being developed.