Published Thursday, 12 January 2012

Responsible Bioelectricity – Renewables Obligation Consultation Response 

IEEP is calling on the UK government to amend the Renewables Obligation (RO) to better reflect the high variation in the environmental performance of bioenergy feedstocks used to generate bioelectricity and the long term desirability of different production methods ie promoting combined heat and power over co-firing. In our consultation response to the Department of Energy and Climate Change we call for the bands determining the level of support under the RO to be further differentiated for bioenergy, reflecting not only economic costs but also environmental impact.

Bioenergy has a role to play in the future production of renewable energy in the UK, however, it is vital that there is preferential support for the most environmentally responsible solutions. According to government estimates bioelectricity is anticipated to contribute over 20 per cent of the UK’s renewable energy commitments by 2020. The RO is the key policy instrument supporting this expansion. Under the RO suppliers of renewable electricity receive Renewable Obligation Certificates reflecting the quantity and nature of the power supplied. The level of Certificates received is differentiated based on the type renewable electricity, intended to reflect the variation in costs of bringing different solutions to market. In the case of bioenergy IEEP believe that the bands should be further elaborated to provide an ‘environmental bonus’ for the most environmentally responsible bioelectricity solutions.

This response draws on research completed by IEEP assessing the development of an environmentally responsible biomass industry for the UK.

Full details of our analysis can be found in our report ‘Securing Biomass for Energy’.