Clearcutting of coastal native hardwood forests in North Carolina – Drax is burning pellets from native forest logging in this region. Photo: Dogwood Alliance
Campaigners have reacted angrily to Government announcements on Wednesday setting out increased support for new biomass power capacity through “strike prices”.  High levels of long-term subsidies have been guaranteed for the partial conversion of Drax and Eggborough Power stations to biomass (allowing both to avoid having to shut down), for the biomass conversion of the currently closed Lynemouth Power station and for a large new biomass plant proposed by MGT Power at Teesside Port. Coal to biomass conversion strike price is £105 p MWh. Dedicated biomass will get £125 p MWh guaranteed.
MGT Power’s plans have already been implicated in land-grabbing in Brazil for eucalyptus plantations,  whilst Drax has been shown to have burnt pellets sourced from the clear-cutting of ancient wetland forests in the southern US.  Overall, further support was announced for more than 4GW of biomass capacity, which will see operators burning almost 30 million tonnes of green wood a year and receiving approximately £ 1 billion in subsidies for this annually.  Drax has already been guaranteed around £198 million in subsidies for biomass conversion under an existing subsidy scheme. 30 million tonnes of wood is equivalent to three times the UK’s total annual wood production. Continue reading New support for biomass electricity will mean more forest destruction and land-grabbing, say campaigners
In July 2013, the UK government announced an infrastructure loan guarantee scheme for energy, road and rail projects, with the declared aim of boosting economic growth. Under the UK Guarantee Scheme, private companies are guaranteed that, if anything goes wrong with their investment which causes them to default on loans to a bank or another lender, the government will pay back those loans for them, out of general taxation. In other words, tax payers carry the risk of private investments. Continue reading Guaranteeing disaster for communities and forests: Say no to Public Loan Guarantees for biomass
What:Speakers from Brazil and the US will present first-hand experience of the impacts of the UK’s biomass policies on forests and people in their countries. This includes a presentation about the first ever case study (from Maranhão, Brazil) published anywhere in the world about a land-grab for tree plantations specifically to grow wood to burn in our power stations. These presentations will be followed by evidence about the impacts of biomass power stations on UK communities, especially on air quality and public health. Continue reading Public Meeting: A Burning Issue – biomass and its impacts on forests and communities
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Biofuelwatch media release – for immediate use 22nd August 2013
DECC’s new sustainability conditions for biomass electricity generation to receive Renewable Obligation subsidies fail to address ‘carbon debt’, ‘indirect land use change’ emissions or the impossibility of real sustainability certification in this industry as evidenced in Biofuelwatch’s report Sustainable Biomass – a modern myth
The article below appeared on The Ecologistblog online on Tuesday 23rd July. It can be accessed here
Almuth Ernsting of Biofuelwatch conducts a comprehensive analysis of the pros and cons of Biochar, a charcoal product that is claimed by some to have the potential to sequester enormous amounts of carbon…….. Continue reading The Problem With Biochar
On 3rd June, the Scottish Government approved Forth Energy’s consent application for a biomass power station at Grangemouth Port that will burn 1.5 million tonnes of wood. Most of the wood will be imported – likely from North and/or South America. This is the first of three similar planning applications by Forth Energy to be determined – ones for Rosyth and Dundee are still pending (with a Public Local Inquiry expected over the Dundee plans).
Nearly 1,000 Grangemouth residents objected to the plans (in a town of just 18,000 people), as did the local authority. At a Public Local Inquiry last May, a coalition of objecting groups, led by Grangemouth Community Council, presented detailed evidence on the damage that the power station would cause to forests and climate, to local people’s health and to aquatic life. Yet the Reporter recommended approval – arguing that the sustainability, efficiency and the climate impacts of the plant were not relevant planning matters and brushing aside concerns over public health and ecosystem impacts. Continue reading Green Investment Bank: Don’t fund Forth Energy’s destructive Grangemouth biomass power station