- Your Chance to Stop Big Biomass in Scotland – Email your MSP here
- Still Time to object to a biofuel power station in Shoreham, do it here
- Tell the Green Investment Bank to Stop funding Big Biomass here
- Human Rights and The Colombian Sugar Industry: Thursday 14th March @ 7pm in London. Find out more here
The Colombian the sugar cane industry is expanding rapidly as the country becomes a major biofuels producer: however at what human cost?
- Take Draxtic Action against Coal-Biomass Conversions: 24th April @ The Drax AGM. Find out more here
New Coal – Biomass Conversions Campaign Launched!
Currently by far the largest biomass investments in the UK – all of which are reliant on imported wood from trees cut down for that purpose – are going into conversions of coal power stations.
In response to this Biofuelwatch have launched a new campaign against Coal-to-Biomass Conversions.
We have started the campaign with an alert to the Green Investment Bank, protesting against their $100 million loan to Drax to finance their partial biomass conversion and calling on them to commit to not funding big biomass in future.
And on the 24th of April, we are organising a protest outside the Drax AGM to Take DRAXtic Action. Please come along and help spread the word.
Update on individual biomass power station proposals
Thanks to everybody who objected to the proposed biofuel power station in Shoreham-on-Sea. The application has not yet been decided. Nor have any of Forth Energy’s applications in Scotland been determined.
Unfortunately, Thurrock Council has granted RWE’s application for the expansion and continued operation of Tilbury B as a biomass power station. Though disappointing, the decision came as no surprise given the Government’s strong support for such investments. The local media gave good coverage to the concerns about the likely disastrous impacts on forests and climate.
See here for a list of local campaign groups against biofuel and biomass power stations in the UK
Update on Subsidies for biofuel and biomass power stations campaign
Last year our focus was to stop subsidies (Renewable Obligation Certificates or ROCs) being granted for biofuel and biomass for power stations. Sadly, there is no good news in regards to this campaign.
Despite a very strong campaign by lots of people and several organisations, DECC’s proposal have now been rubber-stamped by a parliamentary committee. The BBC in particular gave significant coverage to concerns over biofuel electricity. Although the concerns were brought up by some MPs during the debate, Energy Minister John Hayes refused any amendment. Earlier that day, he said that CO2 was not all that mattered and dismissed concerns over biofuels, hunger and rainforest destruction as ‘bourgeois’! Long-term biomass subsidies have been approved, too, as part of the same Order.
In Scotland, the Government has proposed a 15 MW cap on subsidised electricity-only biomass power stations – but offers so many exemptions and loopholes that any large biomass power station, including those proposed by Forth Energy, could still attract subsidies. We have been working closely with Friends of the Earth Scotland and community campaigners to try and get those proposals changed.
At a recent Parliamentary Debate, MSPs from all parties expressed concerns over those loopholes but so far the Scottish Government has refused to amend the proposal. The relevant Parliamentary Committee decided to hear evidence (including from Biofuelwatch) and fully debate those concerns. We will report back after their final vote.
Both governments’ stance appears to reflect the massive lobbying power by big energy companies who are set to earn up to £3 billion a year from ROCs for biomass (and less, but still substantial amounts, for ROCs for biofuels) – and an obsession with ‘keeping the lights on’, which means not addressing energy demand. The good news is that subsidy rules could, legally, be changed again at any time since they do not require primary legislation. Yet clearly, this will require a much stronger challenge to energy companies’ power over energy, including ‘renewable energy’ policies across the UK.
- For more information on biomass impacts, see here.
- Click here for Frequently Asked Questions about biomass
What we are calling for
The UK and Scottish Governments should:
- encourage genuine renewables instead, like wind, solar, and tidal, which we have an abundance of on this island;
- prioritise reducing our consumption of energy.
Contact us on biofuelwatch[at]ymail.com