The department for business, energy & industrial strategy (BEIS) published a long awaited report on biomass on the same day as the spring budget.
The report, commissioned in 2014 by the now defunct department of energy and climate change (DECC), is dated April 2016. It is supposed to improve understanding of the carbon reduction, or otherwise, of burning biomass and focuses on chiefly on wooden pellets shipped from North America.
However, despite outlining dozens of scenarios whereby wood of different grades from different forests is burnt to produce electricity, the complex report ultimately sheds little light on the sustainability of biomass fuel. “We have suggested that further work is needed to understand the extent of [rotation] impacts and to ensure that important ecosystems are not impacted,” is one of its conclusions.
Of 38 ‘high carbon’ scenarios examined via questionnaire, it suggests less than half (15) are currently occurring. However, it suggests 18 out of 38 may or may not be occurring, in part because many survey respondents said ‘I don’t know’ when asked a specific question.
The report also states: “There are a relatively small number of stakeholders who are qualified or experienced enough to comment on the scenarios” that it examined. “These do not make up sufficient numbers to allow statistical analysis.”
Energyst readers can download the report here. Comments on its content and findings are welcome.