Wales eyes biomass as carbon solution

Biomass is set to meet a far greater share of Welsh energy consumption over the coming decade, if the national assembly can deliver on a new strategy unveiled this week.

The Welsh Assembly Government’s Bioenergy Action Plan outlines how the country might generate 20% of its electricity and 3% of its heating needs from bioenergy by 2020.

A spokesman for the assembly told edie that the plan would be technology agnostic and would not favouring one form of bioenergy generation over another.

“Bioenergy is a broad church and we’re looking for a mix,” he said.

The plan looks at the generation of heat and electricity and does not cover biofuels for transport.

The spokesman said the launch of the bioenergy plan was not a sign that Wales would be favouring biomass over other low-carbon power sources but rather one strand of wider plans to make Wales a leading provider of green energy, he added.

“The Welsh Assembly Government is committed to making Wales a leading provider of green energy, produced by wind, biomass, marine and micro-generation,” he said.

“Our renewable energy route map proposes that Wales could produce as much electricity as we currently consume from renewable sources within 20 years.

“We have set a target of reducing carbon emissions by 3% in devolved areas from 2010.”

Welsh Environment Minister Jane Davidson said biomass had a key role to play in meeting the country’s future energy needs: “Climate change is a reality we have to face and exploiting a mix of available energy resources is vital.

“Biomass has the potential to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, whilst at the same time cutting our carbon emissions.

“Low carbon technologies that use biomass are recognised all over the world as an important element in our fight to limit climate change.

“It will bring economic as well as environmental benefits. We estimate that the increased use of bioenergy will create 1,000 direct jobs.

“We will help both the public and private sectors increase their use of different technologies for the efficient generation of heat and electricity from biomass, and to increase the supply of biomass from Wales.”

The Assembly plans to put its money where its mouth is and use biomass in some of its own buildings, with new offices in Aberystwyth and Llandudno Junction using the energy source for heating.

Sam Bond

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