The plan accepts that energy from crops, trees and waste can make a strong contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and sets out 12 key ways to make this happen (below).
Measures include a capital grant scheme for biomass boilers; the establishment of a new Biomass Energy Centre to provide expert information and advice, along with further grant support for biomass supply chains and a commitment to consider using biomass heating in Government buildings.
The report is the government's response to the Biomass Task Force, which made a package of recommendations in October.
Its main argument – that biomass is particularly suited for generating heat – is accepted by the government, though the action plan makes clear that electricity generated from biomass and combined heat and power (CHP) are also an important part of its future.
Key points of the action plan include:
- A new 5 year capital grant scheme for biomass boilers, with funding of £10 - £15 million over the first two years and a second round of the Bio-energy Infrastructure Scheme;
- Agreement in principle to support energy crops under the new Rural Development Programme for England to be introduced in 2007, integrated with bioenergy market development;
- Government commitment to map the potential use of biomass across the main procuring departments of the Government estate;
- Use of the planning system to stimulate renewables development, including support for planning authorities applying a minimum percentage of renewable energy in new developments;
- Support for the EU Biomass Action Plan and agreement on UK membership of the Global Bioenergy Partnership from its launch in May 2006.
- The introduction of new Building Regulations, from April 2006, with new procedures and tougher standards which will encourage the use of Low or Zero Carbon (LZC) systems, such as biomass.
The report is available at www.dti.gov.uk/renewables/renew_1.4.htm