The energy company proposed to build a new 80MW biomass power station on the site of its existing Roosecote gas-fired power station and a 137MW biomass facility adjacent to its gas-fired facility at Brigg.

However, the company has withdrawn from the planning process and suggested that the Government does not see dedicated biomass as a priority.

In a statement Centrica said: “While the Government has declared its support for biomass as part of the UK’s future energy mix, recent clarification on the regulatory framework relating to dedicated biomass plants indicates a preference for co-firing and coal conversion to biomass.

“This includes a consultation on a cap on dedicated biomass ROCs, a consultation on greenhouse gas limits on the biomass supply chain not being certain for 20 years, and the likely exclusion of dedicated biomass projects from the new capacity mechanism.”

Despite the Government’s recent announcement not to implement mandatory price control reporting to investors in biomass, which suggested support for the industry, comments from energy minister John Hayes reinforced Centrica’s fears that future Government policy will favour co-firing and conversion of coal fired power stations.

Earlier this month Hayes said: “Converting from coal to sustainably sourced biomass is good news for both investors and consumers.”

These developments have worried the Renewable Energy Association (REA) who says the Government must do more to alleviate investor uncertainty in renewable energy.

REA chief executive Gaynor Hartnell said:

“We cannot afford to have companies with the standing and acumen of Centrica dropping out of the sector. This is bad news for employment, the supply chain and energy security. Biomass is an economic and baseload source of renewable power.

“With a capacity crunch looming in 2015, Government should be doing its utmost to encourage such shovel-ready projects. It must act swiftly to repair investor confidence in biomass, and renewables in general. Right now the Government seems to have an institutional bias against new biomass power projects.”

Conor McGlone

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