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Amber Rudd backs indigenous gas

Marking a major shift in UK energy policy, the Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd, is today expected to unveil plans to prioritise support for indigenous sources of gas, as she announces the phasing out of coal-fired power stations by 2023.

As part of the Department of Energy & Climate Change’s (DECC) policy “reset”, Amber Rudd is expected to emphasise the importance of affordable measures to boost UK energy security by championing gas as “central to our energy secure future.”

ADBA has continually championed the role that low carbon green gas from anaerobic digestion can play in the energy mix, and is writing to Amber Rudd following her speech to set out the association's view that biogas can meet as much as 30% of domestic gas or electricity demand, reducing gas imports and providing secure baseload power. Green gas will be vital to achieving secure supplies while meeting the carbon budgets the Secretary of State has committed to.

ADBA’s Chief Executive, Charlotte Morton, commented:

There’s often an assumption that the choice facing our country is one between supporting renewable electricity or non-renewable gas stations.

Baseload gas from anaerobic digestion (AD) is a cost-effective, green solution to the government’s energy security concerns that could match the capacity from coal-fired power – meeting either 30% of UK domestic gas or electricity demand. But much more than that – AD improves: farming resilience; food security; and employment and investment opportunities for rural economies.  

A Parliamentary report released yesterday shows that green gas represented 7% of the UK’s indigenous gas supply in 2014 – a colossal milestone for the biogas industry. The UK still needs 20TWh more renewable heat by 2020 to meet the government’s 12% target – AD could deliver a third of that.

Ignoring the benefits of supporting renewable electricity growth now creates real risks, however. AD can deliver the same, vital baseload electrical capacity as new nuclear; but cheaper and faster than Hinkley Point C. Just as with new nuclear, however, for AD to achieve this feat it will require support for industry to scale and deliver this potential – we would therefore urge the Energy Secretary to re-consider the ill-advised proposals to severely limit future development under the Feed-in Tariff.

This year’s ADBA National Conference will be the first AD industry event in the wake of the Autumn Statement, during which the Chancellor of the Exchequer will outline key spending decisions on crucial government incentive schemes such as the Renewable Heat Initiative (RHI).

The Westminster-based event on 3 December will consider the impact of policy changes and the future pathways for biomethane’s use with key speakers, including senior representatives from: the Department for Transport (DfT); the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC); Scotia Gas Networks (SGN); and the Institute of Gas Engineers and Managers (IGEM). 

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