Britain’s biomass generation carries big emissions risk, report claims

The UK’s renewable energy industry has hit back at new economic analysis which finds that biomass power could be causing more carbon pollution than burning coal or natural gas, claiming it is “distorting the facts”.

A study released today (17 October) by US-based environmental organisation the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) examines the ‘full system costs’ of wind and solar energy relative to biomass for replacing coal and meeting the UK’s clean energy targets for the period 2020-25.

Considering the latest technology costs; the cost of ensuring reliability of supply, and carbon costs, the NRDC concludes that wind and solar power are likely to be less expensive than burning trees for biomass, and that many forms of biomass – such as that from forests – have been producing higher carbon emissions than coal and natural gas for decades.

However, the report has been discredited by the Renewable Energy Association (REA), which in 2013 founded the Wood Heat Association to support the modern wood heat & biomass generation.

The REA’s head of policy and external affairs James Court told edie: “It is a shame that yet again, misleading reports are fundamentally distorting the facts with a misunderstanding of how the biomass industry works. The REA and wider industry are always eager to engage with any report into the carbon savings that biomass can achieve, something this organisation did not try to obtain.”

Source: Britain’s biomass generation carries big emissions risk, report claims