Has DECC sounded death knell for on-farm biogas?

The NFU has expressed its deep disappointment at government proposals to further restrict support for the growing AD sector.  NFU members can read our consultation response here.

Semi-plug flow anaerobic digester at bedstone growers, craven arms, shrops_15066

From January 2017, feed-in tariffs for electricity from small-scale biogas plants (under 500 kilowatts) could be cut by a further 27%, and the tariff for larger plants would fall to zero (from 7.8p/kWh currently). A six-week consultation by the Department of Energy and Climate Change is to close on 7th July (subsequently extended to 14th July).

Just over two years ago, the FITs for small and medium AD were 14-15p/kWh, nearly three times the new proposed 2017 rates of 5.5p and 6p/kWh.  There has been no corresponding reduction in capital costs, which have decreased only modestly as the industry has grown.

“Yet again, this government seems determined to throttle the life out of the emerging renewable energy market”, said Dr Jonathan Scurlock, the NFU's chief adviser on renewable energy.

“After slashing support for the growing solar and biomass industries, this seems like the unkindest cut of all.  The multiple environmental and soil management benefits from widespread deployment of on-farm AD will be lost, including the huge potential for avoiding farmyard methane emissions from manure and slurry – a bit of an own-goal for DECC, given that this is a powerful greenhouse gas.”

The NFU also has serious reservations about the practicability of quarterly reporting of feedstock sustainability and the proposed maximum threshold for inclusion of crop feedstocks.

"This is bad news for the rural economy, and bad for agricultural efforts to tackle climate change", added Dr Scurlock.

"The NFU will work with our members and the AD industry to make a robust response to this consultation."

Last edited on: 07:07:2016

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  • Posted by: Rorie GeddesPosted on: 02/06/2016 10:54:38

    Comment: Deep disappointment maybe, but hauling maize around the country was not a clever use.
  • Posted by: robert staceyPosted on: 04/06/2016 06:45:44

    Comment: Yet again it beggars belief that this government would rather spend billions of pounds of taxpayers money building nuclear power stations rather than supporting clean sustainable green energy especially at a time when world wide green energy production is at an all time high. Its green technology should power the world of tomorrow not outdated decades old designs that are being proposed.
  • Posted by: Nick GarnerPosted on: 13/07/2016 09:42:46

    Comment: If there were not as many greedy individuals who set up AD Plants for pure commercial gain and not for what they were/are intended, then I suspect the Government would not feel so inclined to reduce the Tariffs. As usual, it is the unscrupulous few who cause the misfortune of the many. When will people think of others and not just themselves, after all we can't take it with us when we go.
  • Posted by: John HawkinsPosted on: 30/07/2016 09:31:25

    Comment: If this is what this government is prepared to do to this industry, what do you think it will do to to ordinary farm subsidies? Don't hold your breath in hope of any subsidies after we leave the EU.

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