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UK biogas sector expected to ‘boom’

The UK biogas industry is expected to increase dramatically in 2014, according to the European Biogas Assocation (EBA).

In its ‘Biogas in Europe report 2013’, EBA said that UK growth will especially be seen in the agricultural sector. This may be helped by a government review over a degression in Feed-in Tarriffs (FiTs) for small scale anaerobic digestion plants at the end of last year.

The total number of UK biogas plants was 312 in 2012, up from 299 in 2011 (a growth rate of 4%).

The UK now has three gas-to-grid plants in operation, helped by an Ofgem ruling last summer, which relaxed regulation on oxygen contamination in biomethane.

The EBA expects around 20 new biomethane projects to be built in the UK in 2014, boosted mainly by the Renewable Heat Incentive subsidies.

The report also claimed that the UK’s National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP) target of producing more than 20,000GWh by 2020 is “feasible”.

This was due to “positive trends in recent years”. However, just 330GWh was produced in 2012.

UK biogas production per capita was also very low with just 5kWh per person versus 218 in Denmark and 798 in Germany.

The report, based on data collected by EBA, added that 2012 was a successful year for the sector across Europe.

However, Germany, which contains the majority of facilities, built just a third of the number of plants that it installed in 2011. This was put down to the country suffering under new FiT legislation, according to EBA.

In 2012 the European market saw continuous growth with 1,400 new installations put into operation. There are now 13,800 plants overall (see graph above).

The total installed electrical capacity in Europe reached 7,464MW. All electricity currently produced in Europe could replace seven nuclear reactors, EBA claimed.

There are 71,000 jobs in the biogas sector, mostly in Germany.

The report concluded: “The near future will be characterised by continuous growth outside the traditional biogas countries.”

It added that the biogas sector is expected to “boom” in the UK.

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