REA’s Dr Nina Skorupska argues it is time for government and businesses to recognising decarbonising the power sector will not be enough, we need to embrace the challenge of renewable heat. Final consumption of electricity is ‘just’ 303.4TWh (according to figures for 2015) compared to the final heat consumption of 760TWh (according to figures for 2013). We are extremely concerned about the proposed changes to the non-domestic biomass tariffs, which will reduce certain tariffs by up to 61 per cent by 2017, and reduce the number of yearly biomass installations from 3,023 in 2015, to only 65 systems by 2021. This would mean the loss of five years’ worth of government effort and investment that have helped built a mature and stable industry. Biomass heating represents the majority of the decarbonisation of the UK heat sector to date, and 89 per cent of all renewable heat in Europe.The suggested reform of RHI is too focused on a few preferred technologies, picked as the winners by government, rather than letting the market choose between the many available renewable low-carbon heating options. To fully decarbonise our heat supply, we need a mix of all renewable technologies: geothermal, biogas/biomethane, heat pumps, solar thermal, and biomass heating. Neither one can on their own deliver all required heating for industrial use, heating of schools and care homes, and different homes with different needs .A shortfall against either the heat or transport targets requires a significant increase in renewable power contribution. With renewable transport currently only achieving about 2.5 per cent, the power sector will need to deliver 44-45 per cent renewable energy! This at a time where the Renewables Obligation has been closed for solar and onshore wind, the FiT constrained, and the number of CfD auctions reduced to just three before 2020.
Business Green 16th March 2016 read more »