The anaerobic digestion (AD) industry has welcomed increased tariff levels for the renewable heat incentive (RHI), reversing cuts made in recent years.
A new set of tariffs gained parliamentary approval last week.
From 22 May, anaerobic digestion plant operators will be able to claim 5.6p per kWh of renewable heat generated for their Tier 1 biomethane (the first 40,000 MWh they inject into the grid per year).
They will get a guaranteed tariff level for 20 years and once plant is commissioned, the Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA) said.
It said the rate of building new plants had fallen in line with decreases in RHI tariff levels but now forecast up to 40 could be built over the next two years because of the restored tariff levels, generating up to an additional two tWh of renewable heat per year, equivalent to a 50% increase in the industry’ output.
ADBA chief executive Charlotte Morton said: “Green gas produced through AD not only produces much lower levels of emissions than natural gas but is also home-grown, allowing the UK to increase its energy security and be less reliant on energy imports. AD is already reducing gas imports by 2% and has the potential to reduce them by as much as 16%.
“The restored RHI tariffs will give a vital boost to the AD industry’s ability to produce green gas over the next few years.”
Morton said though that there was as yet no clear government strategy for decarbonising heat, and called for as government commitment to long term support for making gas form anaerobic digestion.