£4.2 million for bioenergy
Energy Minister Brian Wilson announced on 23 January that he is kick-starting 11 bioenergy projects across the UK with £4.2 million funding. However, on the same day, he also announced £6 million for the coal industry.Seven of the 11 projects are being backed by National Lottery funding, a total of £3.3 million, and the remaining four – all large industrial heating installations – are being supported by DTI funding, a total of £922,000.
The funding is intended to help establish bioenergy projects that use sorces such as willow, poplar, elephant grass and forestry residues as viable sources for industrial and domestic consumers, says the Department of Trade and Industry.
Projects receiving National Lottery funding include over £540,000 for Ecoenergy based in Bristol, to develop clusters of wood fuel powered heating installations across central and southern England. The Woodland Education Trust in East Sussex will also receive £373,000 to develop the use of wood energy from crops, forestry and arboricultural by-products.
The DTI’s projects include a scheme by Countryside Properties of Essex to provide carbon neutral combined heat and power (CHP) to a new development of 200 homes, and the installation of woodchip and forestry waste boilers in Scotland.
“It is essential that bioenergy is given every opportunity to get off the ground now to ensure that projects increase in scale and number, and make a significant contribution to the UK’s energy needs,” said Wilson.
In May last year, the Government £66 million for biomass projects, jointly funded by the DTI and the National Lottery New Opportunities fund (see related story). As part of its Transforming Communities programme, the New Opportunities Fund has £50 million available for renewable energy.
On the same day that Wilson announced the bioenergy funding, he also announced £6 million funding for seven coal mining companies, as part of the UK Coal Operating Aid Scheme. The money is intended to allow UK coal mines with a viable future to overcome short term market problems caused by low world coal prices and the lifting of the stricter gas consents policy, says the DTI.