Energy industry welcomes Barker’s green gas policy assurance

The Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA) and the Renewable Energy Association (REA) have received a reply from energy minister Greg Barker to their joint letter regarding the renewable heat incentive (RHI) biomethane-to-grid tariff consultation.

Barker’s letter has confirmed that no changes to the 7.5p tariff for biomethane-to-grid will be enacted before 1 December, 2014 and that DECC is not seeking to limit the expansion of the UK’s green gas industry. The MP also committed to working with ADBA and REA ‘to ensure we reach an outcome that secures a bright and sustainable future for the biomethane grid industry’.

The reply follows a letter sent in June to DECC from ADBA chief executive Charlotte Morton and REA chief executive Dr Nina Skorupska; which expressed concern that changing the RHI tariff would render some current biomethane projects ‘uneconomical’ and called on the Department to improve communication with the industry.

DECC this week published a consultation update on its website confirming the details in the Minister’s letter. The REA’s Skorupska said: “It looked for all the world as if DECC was about to pull the rug out from under this fledgling industry after bringing forward just a handful of projects. The Minister’s clarifications take the sting out of this consultation and are very welcome indeed.

“It’s important to keep the lines of communication open between Government and industry, and in fairness DECC’s stakeholder engagement since publishing the consultation has been very good. The recent one-to-one surgeries with biomethane developers should ensure that officials get the evidence they need to make the right decisions and sustain cost-effective growth in the industry.”

Clearer policies

ADBA’s Morton also responded to the letter, claiming the RHI consultation ‘is a key issue for the industry’. “We need to ensure that government support for biomethane has viable tariffs on a long-term basis,” she said.

“It is good that the Minister has acknowledged that they must consider the strong feedback they have received from industry on issues such as gate fees and capital costs, and acted to give some reassurance to existing developers.”

The letter comes in the same week that Morton called for a clearer London waste policy. Giving evidence at the Greater London Authority Environment Committee on Wednesday (9 July), Morton said: “Clarity on the desired long term objectives of waste management makes a big difference.

“Collaboration between local authorities, householders and businesses is vital to segregate unavoidable food waste, which in turn helps make the most of this valuable resource.”

This follows a recent market report by ADBA, which found that waste treated by anaerobic digestion in the UK had more than doubled since 2010, and that between 10 and 15 biomethane to grid plants could be completed under the RHI this year alone.

Matt Field

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