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Energy from food waste will help UK meet renewable targets

The separate collection of food waste for use in anaerobic digestion (AD) facilities can help the UK meet its renewable energy targets, according to a Government expert.

Speaking at the MRW food waste collection and processing conference Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) head of waste policy David Mottershead said: The UK needs all the contributions that it can get through the anaerobic digestion input from food waste.

The European Union has set Britain a target of generating 15% of energy from renewable sources by 2020. Mottershead added that about 250 terawatt hours (TWh) were needed from renewable sources for the UK to meet its 15% 2020 target. He also said 15TWh could come from food waste to provide energy that is desperately needed. One TWh equals one billion kilowatt hours.

Mottershead cited the UK Renewable Energy Strategy consultation document that was published in July this year. He acknowledged that cost was an issue when it came to local authorities setting up separate food waste collections for AD use.

But he said that the issue of food waste was very much here to stay and needed to be tackled. He added that the Government is looking at more incentives and more regulation to make sure that food waste was secured and turned into a useful energy. He mentioned incentives such as the Renewables Obligation that proposes to reward electricity generated from AD with two Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs).

Mottershead said that he was awaiting responses to the consultation which will shape the UK Renewable Energy Strategy and will be published by spring 2009.

Mottershead also praised the Waste & Resources Action Programme Love Food Hate Waste campaign. He said it had exceeded all expectations in terms of its impact.

He said Defra were pleased with the media coverage it received. It is not often the case in waste that you get helpful, constructive reporting which has happened with the Love Food Waste Hate campaign.


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