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Green economic boom under threat from Treasury


The government will fail to create its promised green economic boom if the Treasury takes the wrong decisions in the Comprehensive Spending Review, according to a new report from a key part of the renewable energy industry.

A £2 billion per year industry with 35,000 new jobs is at stake when the Chancellor makes a decision on support for renewable heat in his statement on 20 October, the report from the Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA) found.

This would mean that up to 30 TWh of renewable energy a year, more than enough to heat Birmingham, the UK’s second largest city, could be lost if the government fails to incentivise production at the right level.

Despite committing to a “huge increase” in energy from waste through anaerobic digestion in the Coalition Agreement, the government is still to define this and detail any support measures to achieve it. The Feed in Tariff introduced by the previous government in April has failed to stimulate new projects because it was set too low to have a serious impact.

The UK’s targets on climate change, renewable energy and landfill waste will not be met without a strong green economy. If supported appropriately, however, biomethane from anaerobic digestion could meet up to 40% of the UK’s target for renewable heat production by 2020. In addition, according to Carbon Trust estimates, using this could realistically save the UK 3.06 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year.

Processing waste through AD also offers a sustainable solution for landfill waste, with the added benefit of preserving crucial finite nutrients, such as nitrates and phosphorus.

Dorian Harrison, Technical Director of Monsal and ADBA Board Director comments:

The anaerobic digestion industry has been held back far too long. We have got the expertise, the knowledge and the interest from potential customers. If the government does not set the right incentive now, we will lose out to our European neighbours.

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