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Biogas potential to boost renewable targets recognised

Renewable energy from organic waste biogas, energy from waste and combined heat and power has been recognised as an option to rapidly expand renewables and help the UK meet EU targets.

Business Secretary John Hutton said the consultation on increasing renewable energy, launched this week, proposed ways that the UK could meet its share of the EU target to achieve 20% of energy from renewable sources by 2020.

Proposals include exploiting the full potential of energy from waste, by considering further restrictions on landfilling biomass and extending and raising the level of Renewable Obligations to encourage more renewable electricity sources.

Financial incentives for renewable home heating systems were also suggested as well as support for microgeneration technologies.

Support for the development of new renewable technologies, which could become market leaders, was also highlighted.

However, trade association The Renewable Energy Association (REA) called for full recognition for the role of biogas to tackle organic wastes.

REA chief executive Philip Wolfe said: This [biogas] can also be used to displace natural gas on the gas grid. Recent studies show EU biogas could displace all EU Russian gas imports by 2020.

Wolfe also said he felt Government plans lacked a sense of urgency. We have only 12 years left and Government still wants to use two of those talking about it, he said.

The UK Renewable Energy Strategy, which will be published in spring 2009, will build on the information from the three-month consultation.

Hutton concentrated on the benefits of the proposals saying: As the Stern review concluded, the costs of tackling climate change could be far higher in the longer term than the costs of taking action now.

The business benefits from an expansion in the renewable energy in the UK could include up to 160,000 new jobs, generated in the sector by 2020. Governments ambition is to ensure that as many of these jobs as possible are based in the UK.

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