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Small scale AD plant deployment 'collapsing'

Small scale AD plant

Deployment of small-scale anaerobic digestion (AD) plants is collapsing, according to a trade body report.

The Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA) estimates that 250MW of potential capacity during the next two years could be lost.

ADBA’s AD Market Report found the UK now has 486 AD plants producing 617MWe of biogas capacity, a third more than this time last year.

There was double the number of biomethane to grid plants and enough capacity to recycle more than two million tonnes of food waste a year.

But the report warns that growth in the industry has slowed, particularly for deployment of smaller plants, and will slow further in each of the coming four years due to Government policy decisions and investment uncertainty.

It shows that there are 418 plants in the country with planning permission granted or applied for.

Small scale ad capacity

Small scale ad capacity

In a speech at the UK AD & Biogas 2016 event, ADBA chief executive Charlotte Morton said the report showed how much had been achieved by the sector during the past year but warned of a potential loss in capacity.

“Using existing technology and feedstocks, the AD industry could be four times bigger than it is today – but Government decisions to scale back electricity support, and uncertainty over heat and waste policies, mean that we could lose as much as 250MW of potential capacity during the next two years,” she said.

“That’s enough to increase our tight winter electricity capacity margin by 10%.

“The Committee on Climate Change has said that getting biodegradable waste out of landfill and using AD to cut farming emissions is crucial to meet the carbon budgets set under the Climate Change Act. It’s now time for the Government to set policies which will deliver those goals.”

The Government is on course to close feed-in tariff renewable electricity incentives to new AD applications in 2018.

  • An MRW report on AD will be in this year’s RWM issue

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