Department of Energy and Climate Change

The British government has decided that dedicated biomass power plants will no longer be eligible for subsidies, under the draft Electricity Market Reform delivery plan, with the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) reiterating its prioritisation of more efficient technologies such as combined heat and power (CHP) instead.

New-build, power-only biomass will not be able to claim contracts for difference (CfDs), the support mechanism that succeeds the Renewables Obligation (RO), it was confirmed.



DECC said to offer dedicated biomass CfD support “would circumvent our policy intent to discourage electricity-only new build and to encourage more resource efficient technologies such as CHP and heat”.

The decision has not passed without criticism.

Gaynor Hartnell, chief executive of the REA, said: “It should not be a case of choosing between converting coal-fired power stations to biomass or building new projects; the two operate at different scales and both can play an important role. This decision sends a terrible message to investors.”

DECC favours conversion of coal or co-firing generators to sustainable biomass and dedicated biomass combined heat and power.

Conversion projects are being offered a flat rate of CfD support to 2027, a shorter contract than other renewables in light of the fact they are extending the life of plant that are already quite old. This “offers a quick, cost-effective way to rapidly decarbonise electricity generation in the short to medium term”, DECC said.

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