Government urged to boost support for anaerobic digestion
Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid has been urged to provide stop gap funding to support the rollout of biomethane plants when the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme expires in 2021.
In a letter submitted to the Treasury, ahead of the scheduled date of next month’s Budget, the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ABDA) has called for action across government to more effectively support the process, which traps the methane created by organic waste.
It says that it is ‘critical’ that there is a commitment of additional support for the anaerobic digestion (AD) process beyond March 2021, when the RHI is due to end, including an interim pot of funding for deploying biomethane plants.
The letter says this support is necessary while a future funding mechanism is developed because existing tools are not fully fit for purpose. For example, while the Contracts for Difference provide support for larger AD plants, many in the sector are small.
The association says there is a ‘huge untapped potential’ for capturing and using methane, which is currently being released from the millions of tonnes of decomposing organic waste in landfill sites not being treated through AD.
ABDA also says it is ‘vital’ that councils receive full support with set up costs to fund the development of infrastructure so that they can implement the mandatory 2023 target for separate food waste collections set in the government’s Resources & Waste Strategy.
Around 70 councils will be signing new waste contracts in lead up to this deadline.
ADBA’s chief executive Charlotte Morton said: “As a result of enjoying consistent policy and funding support, the wind and solar industries have become extremely cost-effective and are now established as part of the renewable energy mix. AD should be given the same fair treatment, to put the sector on the ‘glide path’ to no subsidy, as costs come down and innovation drives cost savings across the industry.
“The current timeline for the Greening the Gas Grid consultation is unlikely to provide the urgent continuity necessary to stimulate further industry growth. The sector’s progress has already effectively stalled due to the lack of policy certainty, and there is a real risk of losing expertise if there is an ongoing gap in policy provision.”
This article first appeared on edie's sister title, Utility Week