anaerobic digestion

AD Now Powers Over a Million Homes, Report Finds

A new report shows that anaerobic digestion (AD) plants across the UK now have enough capacity to power over a million homes.

The report shows that AD in the UK now has a capacity of 730 MWe-e, an increase of 18% over this time last year, with total energy generation of 10.7 TWh per year. Operational performance in the industry continues to improve, with load factors rising to 73% in 2016, up from 69% the previous year.

AD is currently reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 1% and employing more than 3,500 people in the UK, but with the right policy support has the potential to reduce emissions by 4% and employ 35,000 people.

Delays in the passing of legislation for the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), which is set to restore tariff levels to 5.35 p/kWh, has meant that there are currently at least 13 AD plants on hold. Electricity generation from AD, meanwhile, is receiving next to no government support, with the Feed-In Tariff for >500 kW plants down to just over 2p/kWh.

50-80 new AD plants were commissioned in 2016 but this number is projected to fall to 19-64 in 2017 because of policy uncertainty.

Commenting on the report, ADBA Chief Executive Charlotte Morton said: “The fact that AD can now power over a million homes is a great milestone to achieve.

However, while it’s encouraging that the new Government has committed to the Paris Agreement and to meeting the UK’s Carbon Budgets, there is currently a desperate lack of long-term policy support for AD, particularly in heat and transport, areas where AD can make a significant contribution to decarbonisation.

While there are 437 AD plants in the planning stage, most of these are unlikely to be built without stronger government support for AD. This is a huge wasted opportunity – the Government needs to act now to provide both short- and long-term certainty for the AD industry to enable it to deliver the green energy the Government urgently needs both to meet its legally binding climate change targets and for the UK’s energy security.”

References: CIWM

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