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AD sector slates plan to end FiT support for large plants

The anaerobic digestion (AD) sector has railed against proposed changes to feed-in tariffs (FiTs), including scrapping support for larger plants, describing them as “completely unjustified”.

A consultation has been launched by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc), with revised tariffs for AD and micro-combined heat and power technologies through the FiTs scheme.

AD plants larger than 500kW will no longer be eligible for support from next year under the proposals, which also include a 27% cut in support for smaller plants. An example of a larger facility is Kelda’a proposed 1.5MW facility in Wales (above).

A default degression to the tariffs, whereby support is reduced each quarter, will also be applied, in line with the other technologies eligible under FiTs.

Charlotte Morton

Charlotte Morton

Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA) chief executive Charlotte Morton (pictured) said the changes would make it even harder to deploy viable plants, and said the consultation “does nothing to address Decc’s fundamental lack of ambition for AD”.

“Removing support for new plants above 500kW is completely unjustified and will kill off projects which could otherwise have delivered Decc’s objectives while representing good value for money,” she said.

“The Government needs baseload electricity to ensure energy security, and technologies that reduce emissions from agriculture and waste to meet our carbon budgets.

”AD can deliver all of that, at scale, now – but only with the right support.”

Renewable Energy Association head of biogas Dr Kiara Zennaro said: “In all likelihood, if these proposals are adopted, we will see the end for many of the new AD projects planned in the UK.

“Correspondingly, we will miss a significant opportunity to decarbonise the agricultural and waste sectors while supporting the rural and circular economies.”

Head of policy and external affairs James Court said “our ambitions to grow the sector remain frustrated.”

New proposed fi ts tariffs

In the consultation document, which runs until 7 July, Decc suggests that the changes will not adversely affect large AD plants.

“Analysis shows that such installations are able to make sufficient revenues to make the deployment of the plant viable and achieve a 9.1% rate of return without support from the generation tariff.”

Its analysis was based on plants claiming rewable heat incentive payments, relying on 100% food waste as their feedstock and receiving a gate fee of £20 per tonne.

Giving reasons for the cutbacks, Decc says: “Deployment under the FiTs scheme has exceeded expectations… this has come at a cost to the bill payer.”

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