Significant further growth in UK biomass capacity “seems very unlikely”, consultancy Tolvik’s has warned in an analysis of the industry.
Tolvik said in its UK Dedicated Biomass Statistics 2017 report that the industry had been reliant on subsidy support from the former Renewables Obligation (RO) scheme.
The end of this and the expiry of the post-RO grace period on 30 September meant facilities still under construction needed to have been commissioned by then to receive RO support, it said.
But of 15 such projects identified, only four had been fully accredited. While some might become so by 30 September, “a failure to secure RO accreditation is likely to seriously prejudice a facility’s ability to commercially operate in line with a business case that assumed RO accreditation”, Tolvik said.
“This is likely to lead to either mothballing or an exploration of the facility’s ability to switch to a fee-paying fuel such as refuse-derived fuel.”
Tolvik said that in 2016-17 there were 39 operational biomass facilities each with a reported installed capacity more than 2.5MW. They generated around 4,226GWh of power, equivalent to around 1.3% of the total UK power generation.