REA launches bioenergy review

The Renewable Energy Association (REA) has launched a call for evidence as part of a far-reaching review of the future of bioenergy in the UK.

Bioenergy is energy generated from bio-based sources and fuels, such as wood pellets and biodiesel, or organic waste in processes such as anaerobic digestion.

The review, which will inform a Bioenergy Strategy to be published mid-2019, comes shortly after the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) estimated bioenergy’s contribution to total UK energy output could more than double by 2050. The International Energy Agency (IEA) described bioenergy as ‘the overlooked giant of renewables’.

REA launches bioenergy reviewThe review is expected to form a new policy strategy for government and industry, outlining how bioenergy can fulfil its long-term potential in a low-carbon energy mix.

It will provide a comprehensive up-to-date assessment of the current role of bioenergy and the potential it has in meeting carbon targets by the year 2032, when the UK’s final carbon budget will draw to a close. The Strategy will also look at the role of bioenergy in meeting the UK’s 2050 targets for decarbonisation.

The review sees industry taking the lead on bioenergy strategy, with the promise of a government-led review of the 2012 Bioeconomy Strategy failing to materialise when promised in 2017.

To launch the review, the REA is seeking expert views and contributions from industry, academics, NGOs and other stakeholders on the future and potential of bioenergy in the UK.

Adam Brown, independent author for the REA’s Bioenergy Strategy report, commented: “Bioenergy has been at the heart of the move to renewable energy in the UK. It currently provides the largest share of renewable energy, both globally and in the UK.

“Many of the policies which have helped spur the growth of bioenergy are now coming to an end and the energy markets and technologies have advanced significantly. So it’s time for an update of the UK’s strategy.

“We want to explore the role of bioenergy and how public policy and industry practice need to change if we’re to get the most out of this sector. We’re looking at everything from sustainability and air quality to economic value and its ability to cut energy bills.

“We’re very keen to hear from all stakeholders with expertise in bioenergy issues, which is why we’ve launched with a broad call for evidence.”

Dr Nina Skorupska CBE, Chief Executive of the REA, added: “Bioenergy is already a major part of British life. It’s our largest source of renewable heat, second largest source of renewable power and is a key solution to decarbonising transport today and into the future.

“It’s been central to the UK’s progress in cutting its carbon emissions. For bioenergy to fulfil its potential long into the future, we need a strong evidence base, expert inputs from industry and real political will.

“That’s why we’ve launched this review and invited all stakeholders to contribute their expertise.”

You can contribute to the call for evidence on the REA’s dedicated Bioenergy Strategy website.