The government has reiterated its support for the anaerobic digestion industry.
Speaking at the national conference of the Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA), DECC minister Charles Hendry acknowledged the need for greater clarity over future policy.
Hendry told more than 200 conference delegates: “we understand the greatest enemy to investment is uncertainty”. He said what DECC “need to do in the coming months is provide the long term clarity” required to attract that investment, including “working to ensure the financial incentives provide the revenue needed to support AD”.
The minister also told the conference he recognised AD’s unique advantages over other renewables such as constant generation and the ability to store gas. He said the AD was an important sector in “the green revolution we need”.
Hendry said AD makes an important contribution to energy security at a time when indigenous sources are in decline as well as to a future zero waste economy. He said the aim with energy recovery should be to “get more energy out of residual waste, not put more waste into energy recovery”.
ADBA Chairman Lord Redesdale welcomed the minister’s engagement with the issues around AD “particularly his recognition that DECC can and should do more to provide clarity and certainty to investors”.
“Getting funding for AD plants remains a real challenge for the industry, and fears about future Government policy have been a major cause of this.”
Hendry re-committed the government to reducing the burden of regulation, addressing problems of finance and investment, and ensuring sustainability and security of feedstocks.
Ian Nolan development director of UK Green Investments, precursor of the Green Investment Bank (GIB), told the conference that waste and “AD in particular is a real priority for the GIB”. He outlined how the GIB, once approved by the European Commission, will use its £3bn fund to invest in priority areas to accelerate private sector investment.
ADBA’s chief executive Charlotte Morton spoke about AD’s potential for growth, and the challenges faced. She said the industry’s ability to deliver on its potential is “largely dependent on getting the feedstock”. She said source-segregated waste collection is important financially and for waste reduction and “neither localism nor Mr Pickles should get in the way of delivering on the priorities of energy and food security”.
Morton said the challenge for commercial and industrial waste is about getting “appropriate collections in place”, and said the AD industry must reach out to the waste management industry.