Outlook for UK biomass power is positive, despite uncertainty

By Lisa Gibson | September 06, 2011

Despite policy uncertainty in the U.K., the biomass power industry is unwavering, thanks to large developers still proposing a number of new projects, as well as making significant progress on many announced last year.

The Directory of UK Biomass Generation Plants 2011 is fully updated and scheduled for release Oct. 5, but Enagri, the bioenergy information service that crafts the annual directory, released just a teaser.

“Although some of the projects listed in the 2010 directory have dropped off the list due to financing or planning issues, the overall picture is positive for the development of biomass power in the U.K.,” said Richard Crowhurst, Enagri’s managing editor. “With coverage of almost 300 biomass, co-firing and energy-from-waste plants, once again Enagri’s biomass directory is the most complete survey of the sector available.”

Some large biomass power developers in the U.K. have been vocal in their desire for parity of biomass with other renewables like wind and solar. The Renewables Obligation Banding Review is ongoing and will determine support levels past 2013, the end of the timeline for current levels. The Back Biomass campaign has been launched by the U.K. Renewable Energy Association to push for suitable levels of government support for biomass power, as it will play a large role in meeting the U.K.’s renewable energy goal of 15 percent by 2020. The U.K. has, however, listed biomass among the top three technologies that will help meet that goal.

But even with concerns surrounding government support and uncertainty for investors, the new directory appears to show exciting results. The report will include operating and planned biomass power plants that are 2 megawatts or larger. It will be launched and available for purchase at this year’s European Bioenergy Expo and Conference Oct. 5-6 at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, England.