The department for energy and climate change (DECC) has pledged to continue its support for anaerobic digestion (AD) and biogas.
Energy minister Andrea Leadsom told MPs during a session on climate change of the “additional benefits” such technology could bring over other renewable sources as it develops.
She praised the ability of renwables to provide baseload energy as well as to contribute to the gas grid and for biofuels to be used for transport.
“The government has provided £124m of support under the renewable obligation (RO), £53m under the renewable heat incentive (RHI), and enough support under feed in tariffs (FiTs) to deploy 151MW since 2010,” she said.
“These technologies can make a valuable contribution to our decarbonisation targets. We will continue to support them.”
Energy secretary Amber Rudd and Leadsom were challenged by opposition MPs, including Labour’s Alan Whitehead, about the UK’s ability to reach its renewable energy targets.
Whitehead mentioned a letter from Rudd to her colleagues leaked in November that said the UK was on course to miss its obligation to deliver 15% of final energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020 by around 3.5 percentage points.
Leadsom responded that the UK was now on course to reach its targets after a “good settlement” in November’s comprehensive spending review.
She said she was “very pleased with the commitment to increase the RHI between now and 2021 each year”.
Rudd meanwhile dismissed shadow energy minister Barry Gardiner’s “depressing” suggestion that the UK would miss its targets, saying “we remain committed to achieving” them.
The energy secretary said earlier in the discussion that “investing in renewable energy is an essential part of our energy security”.
Both DECC ministers described energy security as the department’s priority and spoke of the need to balance support for renewable technologies with keeping consumer bills low.
The Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA) predicted in its recent market report that there could be 180 green gas plants in operation by 2021 if a reasonable proportion of the RHI budget was allocated to AD and the scheme’s structure was workable.