Standing Group on Long Term Co operation June United Kingdom by IntlEnergyAgency


									                                                     Reference P/2006/113
                                                     Date 27 April 2006


An action plan to unlock the potential for renewable energy in biomass is
published by the Government today.

The plan accepts that energy from crops, trees and waste can make a
strong contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and sets out 12
key ways to make this happen.

Measures include a capital grant scheme for biomass boilers; the
establishment of a new Biomass Energy Centre to provide expert
information and advice, along with further grant support for biomass
supply chains and a commitment to consider using biomass heating in
Government buildings.

The report, launched by Ministers from Defra and the DTI, forms the
Government’s response to the Biomass Task Force, which made a package
of recommendations in October.

Its main argument – that biomass is particularly suited for generating heat
is accepted by the Government, though the action plan makes clear that
electricity generated from biomass and combined heat and power (CHP)
are also an important part of its future.

Lord Bach, Defra’s Minister for Sustainable Farming and Food, said:
“There is enormous potential in biomass, to generate renewable energy,
to help the environment and to provide another possible market for our

“We know that biomass is not the answer to every issue facing us but we
should be getting much more from this valuable resource.

“This action plan provides us with a clear path forwards. It has been
drawn up by a cross-Government team, building on the excellent work
done by the Biomass Task Force.”

Minister for Energy, Malcolm Wicks, added: “The plans we are announcing
and the Biomass strategy that is being developed will supplement
initiatives such as the DTI’s Low Carbon Building programme and the
bioenergy capital grants scheme to further increase the use of biomass

“We are aiming for 10% of our electricity to come from renewable sources
by 2010 and double that by 2020 so biomass will have an increasingly
important role to play in the UK’s future energy mix.”

The Biomass Task Force made 42 recommendations to Government. The
Government’s Response accepts most of these, setting out plans for
implementing them. A number of initiatives have already begun.

The Task Force’s recommendation that the Government should not pursue
a renewable heat obligation will be considered further and the evidence

The action plan is primarily for England. However the Devolved
Administrations of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have helped in its
development and it will also contribute to a UK biomass strategy, which
will be published in the next year.
The full report is available online at or by linking from
Defra’s biomass page at

Notes to Editors

   1.The Government’s Response to the Biomass Task Force Report has
      been produced by a cross-Government working group, led by Defra
      and the DTI.

   2.Key points are:

             A new 5 year capital grant scheme for biomass boilers, with
             funding of £10 - £15 million over the first two years and a
             second round of the Bio-energy Infrastructure Scheme, with
             funding at, or close to the level, proposed by the Task Force
             (announced in the Climate Change Programme Review);

             Agreement in principle to support for energy crops under the
             new Rural Development Programme for England to be
             introduced in 2007, closely integrated with bioenergy market

             Announcement of the Forestry Commission’s new Biomass
             Energy Centre as a major new hub for bioenergy advice and
             best practice for industry and the public;

             Further measures to integrate environmental assessment in
             the planning of energy crop development;

             Government leadership through public procurement,
             including the commitment to map the potential use of
             biomass across the main procuring departments of the
             Government estate;

             Working with Regional Development Agencies and other
             organisations to ensure effective, coordinated mechanisms
             for delivery of policy and advice;

             Action already taken, since publication of the Task Force
             report, to improve the Renewables Obligation and
             implementation of the associated procedures;
         Use of the planning system to stimulate renewables
         development, including our support for planning authorities
         applying a minimum percentage of renewable energy in new

         Action to address regulatory barriers identified by the Task
         Force and to develop standards to improve efficacy and
         confidence in biomass;

         Our thinking on the use of energy from waste, which is
         subject to conclusions from the current review of Waste
         Strategy and the Energy Review; and

         Support for the EU Biomass Action Plan and agreement on
         UK membership of the Global Bioenergy Partnership from its
         launch in May 2006.

         The introduction of new Building Regulations, from April
         2006, with new procedures and tougher standards which
         will encourage the use of Low or Zero Carbon (LZC) systems,
         such as biomass.

3. The Biomass Task Force, chaired by Sir Ben Gill, reported to
   Government in October 2005. Full report is available here:

4. Biomass currently accounts for 84 per cent of Britain’s renewable energy
   generation and 1.4 per cent of total energy generation.

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                                                    Reference P/2006/106
                                                    Date 13 April 2006


After meeting over 500 energy and environment experts, receiving more
than 2000 written responses and listening to the views of the public the
Energy Review consultation, which is now closed, moves to its next crucial
phase, Malcolm Wicks said today.

The Energy Minister said:

“The public consultation launched three months ago has sparked some
heated debate with valuable contributions from environmentalists, energy
groups, the public, and business. It is now time for us to analyse this
evidence, incorporate it together with our own analysis and thinking to
prepare a report for the Prime Minister by the Summer.

“In the coming months, the decisions we need to take will determine
energy strategy up to the middle of the 21st century. The responses we’ve
received demonstrate the diversity of views on all aspects of future energy
policy including renewables, nuclear, coal, oil and gas, as well as energy

“Climate change, declining domestic production, increased prices and an
increased reliance on overseas sources have forced the issue.          Our
response must be underpinned by our key energy policy goals: to cut the
UK’s CO2 emissions, to maintain reliabiltity of supply, to promote
competitive markets and to end the cruel correlation between being old
and being cold.”
The key questions posed by the consultation document were:

  • What more could the Government do on the demand or supply side
    for energy to ensure that the UK’s long-term goal of reducing
    carbon emissions is met?

  • With the UK becoming a net energy importer and with big
    investments to be made over the next twenty years in generating
    capacity and networks, what further steps, if any, should the
    Government take to develop our market framework for delivering
    reliable energy supplies? In particular, we invite views on the
    implications of increased dependence on gas imports.

  • The Energy White Paper left open the option of nuclear new build.
    Are there particular considerations that should apply to nuclear as
    the Government reexamines the issues bearing on new build,
    including long-term liabilities and waste management? If so, what
    are these, and how should the Government address them?

  • Are there particular considerations that should apply to carbon
    abatement and other low-carbon technologies?

  • What further steps should be taken towards meeting the
    Government’s goals for ensuring that every home is adequately and
    affordably heated?

Comments were also invited on:

  • The long-term potential of energy efficiency measures in the
    transport, residential, business and public sectors, and how best to
    achieve that potential.

  • Implications in the medium and long term for the transmission and
    distribution networks of significant new build in gas and electricity
    generation infrastructure.

  • Opportunities for more joint working with other countries on our
    energy policy goals.

  • Potential measures to help bring forward technologies to replace
    fossil fuels in transport and heat generation in the medium and long
The issues will be looked at in the context of the Government’s policies for
competitiveness and sound public finances.

Notes for Editors

1. Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks was asked by the Prime Minister and
   Trade & Industry Secretary Alan Johnson on 29 November 2005 to lead
   a review of Energy Policy and to bring forward policy proposals by the

2. A consultation paper was published on 23 January and the closing date
   for responses is today, Friday 14 April. Malcolm Wicks and the Review
   Team have consulted industry, NGOs and other stakeholders at a series
   of seminars over the past three months up and down the UK. Full
   details of the consultation process, including submissions received, can
   be found at

3. The Review is being taken forward by a cross-departmental team based
   in the DTI, with officials drawn from key relevant departments and the
   Prime Minister's Strategy Unit. The devolved administrations and
   territorial departments are already involved and will continue to be
   involved throughout the course of the Review. The Review team will
   draw on expert support and analysis both within and outside

4. The Terms of Reference for the Energy Review are:

   The Government will review the UK's progress against the medium and
   long-term Energy White Paper goals and the options for further steps
   to achieve them. The aim will be to bring forward proposals on energy
   policy next year.
   The Review will be informed by analysis and options drawn up by a
   Review team led by the Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks. This will be a
   team of officials drawn from key relevant departments and the Prime
   Minister's Strategy Unit. In drawing up the analysis and options, the
   Energy Minister will undertake extensive public and stakeholder
   consultation. The Review will be taken forward in the context of the
   Government's commitment to sound public finances. The Review
   team will report to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for
   Trade and Industry in early summer.

5. The consultation document confirms the Government’s commitment to
   the four main goals in the 2003 Energy White Paper:

   • To put ourselves on a path to cut the UK’s CO2 emissions by some
     60% by about 2050, with real progress by 2020
• To maintain the reliability of energy supplies

• To promote competitive markets in the UK and beyond, helping to
  raise the rate of sustainable economic growth and to improve our

•   To ensure that every home is adequately and affordably heated.

                                                   Department of Trade and Industry

                                                   7th Floor
                                                   1 Victoria Street
                                                   London SW1H 0ET

                                                   Press Enquiries +44 (0)20 7215 5976/6407
                                                   (Out of Hours) +44 (0)20 7215 3234/3505
                                                   Public Enquiries +44 (0)20 7215 5000
                                                   Textphone +44 (0)20 7215 6740
                                                   (for those with hearing impairment)
                                                   Press Office Fax +44 (0)20 7222 4382

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