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An open letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak and MPs

Black Monday, jobs, energy security, COP26 and the role of biogas

As the chancellor sits down to dot the ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s on his budget ADBA calls on him not to forget the potential of biogas, which has been emphasized by the triple whammy of Black Monday and the coronavirus, the need for energy security and COP26.

Investment in biogas now can:

  • stimulate the economy in response to Black Monday, providing an economic stimulus and tens of thousands of new green jobs
  • offer energy security and price stability in an increasingly volatile market, exemplified by the current oil-price war
  • and embed the UK’s leadership role on climate change, avoiding humiliation as hosts of COP26.

Black Monday

Stock markets around the world crashed on Monday, suffering a fall comparable to the crash of 2008. This was triggered by the slowdown in the global economy caused by coronavirus and falling demand for oil. Oil prices subsequently slumped when Russia and Saudi Arabia failed to agree curbs on supply. Analysts say we stand on the brink of a global recession. With interest rates around the world at near zero – indeed being negative for a short time on Monday – the chancellor has little wriggle room to take corrective action.

Stimulating the economy through investment is one of the few levers available to him. Investment in biogas will deliver 30,000 new jobs over the next decade, faster than HS2 and into rural economies, which will deliver on the government’s election pledge to ‘level up’ opportunity across the country.

Furthermore, boosting rural economies has been a pillar of the government’s industrial strategy for the past several years and biogas affords the opportunity to do this. The technology is also integral to the NFU’s target to achieve net zero by 2040 and delivers on every aim of the Agriculture Bill, which is to replace CAP.

Amongst renewable energies biogas is unique in that it offers long-term employment, whereas wind turbines and solar arrays once manufactured and erected do not.

Energy Security

The current situation warns us that energy security and price stability is critical. The versatility of biogas delivers immediate results in terms of energy supply and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and can play a key role in the future bioeconomy, should we become energy self-sufficient. It is the perfect hedge.

Based on current technology and feedstock biogas in the UK has the potential to deliver 26% of the gas needed in the UK by 2030. Aside from providing direct energy from the treatment of organic wastes, it can act as storage for wind and solar and via electrolysis either increase biogas output or deliver hydrogen. Should we become energy self-sufficient, biogas can be diverted to decarbonise transport or create a platform for the development syngases, which can be used in a wide variety of refining processes and possibly fuels for airlines.

Denmark offers a good case study. When the country was held hostage to fortune during the oil crisis in the late 70s it determined to become energy self-sufficient. It is now a global leader in terms of exporting green energy tech and well ahead on the road to delivering net zero.

Price stability 

Biogas and other renewable energies deliver price stability. For the past year bills for green gas and electricity have been on a par with fossil fuel comparisons and often cheaper. Indeed, last year Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis advised his 14 million readers to go green and save hundreds of pounds. Today, in many cases green consumer tariffs remain cheaper than the big 6.

COP26

At the end of the year the UK hosts COP 26 where it is expected a global pathway to net zero will be determined. The glut of cheap oil unleashed on the market has the potential to derail efforts to achieve net zero. 

By investing in biogas now, as called for by the CCC and IEA, the government will take a clear leadership role on the world stage. Biogas can cut greenhouse gas emissions by 6% annually in the UK and 12% annually globally if enabled to reach its full potential over the next decade.

Biogas is a no-brainer. Over to you Mr Sunak.

Posted in: ADBA News

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