|The evidence about the UK’s options for reaching 2050 carbon targets is clear that sustainably sourced biomass is a hugely valuable option and that the UK has the potential for a sizeable domestic biomass resource base. With focused policies the UK has credible routes to produce around 10% of its primary energy needs from sustainable domestic and imported biomass; while also capturing carbon, and supporting rural incomes and economies. Early analysis of the potential costs of policy support suggest that it is both affordable and can deliver good value for money.
Currently this opportunity is neglected by both agricultural and energy policies. Agricultural policy on biomass for energy appears driven by ‘worst case’ risks, while energy policy support is focused on downstream conversion technologies, which currently have to utilise imported biomass to meet thescale of demand quickly. Without specific focus on all parts of the UK biomass supply chain, there is a real risk that the UK?s nascent biomass sector will largely disappear, and the additional benefits of energy security and sustainability associated with domestic biomass feedstocks will be missed.
The opportunity is there. It needs to be more widely recognised. Now is the time to act and create momentum in the sector. We need to create an enabling environment for biomass value chains, by developing joined-up energy, agricultural, and land use policy