The Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) has reaffirmed its opposition to subsidies for larger energy-only biomass plants as a substitute for coal and called for an urgent assessment of viability the Government’s target of providing 35% of electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
The two policy positions are included in the latest briefing for MPs from the CPI’s director general David Workman.
Workman says a number of assumptions underpin ministers’ thinking but they have “failed to materialise”, including:
- global fossil fuel prices will rise to a level that would make renewable energy costs only marginally more expensive
- any cost resulting from growth in renewables could easily be met out of economic growth
- Carbon capture and storage technology would, by now, be proven and ready to install
- the European Emissions Trading System would act as the incentive for industry and the power sector to decarbonise
As a result, Workman argues, “the UK is still ploughing ahead with a policy the principle aim of which is to decarbonise the economy.
“It might well succeed in its objective but at what cost and will it do anything to reduce carbon consumption, which continues to rise?”, he asks.
He said the industry needed confidence that it would have access to reliable and competitive energy streams and not be subject to indirect energy and carbon costs that become an unaffordable burden.
The CPI wants:
- an urgent assessment of the speed of change and viability of achieving the Government’s target of providing 35% of electricity from renewable sources by 2020
- increased gas storage beyond the current 16 day capacity and faster development of shale gas reserves
- full compensation for energy-intensive industries for the Carbon Price Floor (CPF) measure
- removal of subsidies for large scale energy only biomass as a substitute for coal
- enhanced capital allowances and a total exemption for input fuel sources and heat and power output from the CPF
- a ban on recyclable materials go straight to EfW plants by centrally controlling their deployment and instituting strict controls on feedstock
- the Government to abandon the Carbon Reduction Commitment