Ministers warned to double UK’s use of bioenergy or risk energy security

The UK must double its use of bioenergy by 2032 or jeopardise its energy security, Ministers have been warned.

A new report from the Renewable Energy Association (REA) is urging Ministers to commit to 16% of primary energy supply coming from the renewable source, which currently contributes just 7.4% to Britain’s energy supply.

Along with delivering a further 117 TWh across heat and power, sustainably doubling the deployment of bioenergy would see up to 80 million tonnes of CO2 removed from the atmosphere annually – more than enough to bridge the nuclear gap and meet the shortfall in the carbon budgets, the report claims.

The REA joins the Science and Technology Commons Select Committee and the Committee on Climate Change in urging the Government to prioritise resolving the policy gap obstructing the deployment of new sources of heat and power generation, with the REA claiming that the UK will lose valuable markets, expertise and resource in the run up to net zero without this.

REA Chief Executive Dr Nina Skorupska claims that the current and potential role that bioenergy plays in the energy system has been overlooked by ministers and government officials “time and time again,”  leading to it being “deprived of the support it deserves.”

“Bioenergy is the backbone of the renewables revolution providing all-important dispatchable power and the most advanced solution to meeting the demands of heat and transport,” she said.

“With 2050 targets locked into place, the Government must commit to doubling current levels to reach 16% bioenergy by 2032 to avoid future UK energy security concerns.”

The REA’s strategy sets out a comprehensive list of policy actions and industry commitments now needed to achieve the UK’s legally binding commitments and drive forward the industry. The key recommendations of the study include an obligation on gas suppliers to blend in a minimum amount of renewable gas following commitments made in the Spring Statement; urgently renewing support for renewable heat once the Renewable Heat Incentive comes to an end and an auction mechanism akin to those used to establish the offshore wind sector, to kick-start the market for capturing and storing carbon.

Dr Adam Brown, author of the Bioenergy Strategy report, added: “As we move to a more flexible and decentralised energy system, the role of bioenergy is vital; accommodating for the dispatchable energy required to moderate growing electricity demand and offering immediate and affordable solutions for the decarbonisation of hard to treat areas like heat and transport.

“Without bioenergy, the UK risks missing its legally binding net zero targets and falling victim to the looming nuclear gap. The policy gap facing the bioenergy sector must be addressed in order to maintain the UK’s energy security and capitalise on the opportunities the sector presents.”

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