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Scotland limiting support for wood-burning biomass power

The Scottish government has decided to limit its support for biomass stations.

After a consultation on the levels of support available to electricity generators under the Renewables Obligation for biomass and solar energy, the Scottish government decided that for wood fuelled biomass stations with an installed capacity greater than 15 megawatts, only those who operate as a combined heat and power station would qualify for support.

“We have made clear our concerns over competition for a finite supply of wood, and our belief that there should be a greater focus on biomass in smaller-scale energy projects wherever possible and the responses to our consultation reflected that,” said Energy Minister Fergus Ewing.

The Scottish government’s decision is in contrast with that of the British government, which has ruled out placing any limits on biomass until installed capacity exceeds 400 MW.

Scotland’s Renewables Obligation is a support mechanism for renewable energy. Aside from the decision on biomass, support in other areas like those of solar photovoltaics, will also mirror those across the rest of Britain.

The R.O. is paid for by consumers, but according to Mr. Ewing, the costs are proportionate and will protect consumers from higher energy bills in the long term.

The R.O. costs consumers approximately between £15 to £20 ($23.69 to $ 31.59) a year, and this could increase to £53 ($83.71) per year by 2017 – but that bills in 2020 will be £94 ($148.46) cheaper with renewables and energy efficiency policies than without.

Over the last decade, the R.O. has also benefitted Scotland, tripling its renewable energy output and attracting investments. Scotland’s renewable sector is said to have attracted around £2.8 billion ($4.42 billion) in investment since 2009 and also created around 11,000 jobs. – K. Jalbuena

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