UK renewables chief warns Govt. not to cut ‘green gas’ tariff too quickly


Dr. Nina Skorupska, Chief Executive, Renewable Energy Association
Dr. Nina Skorupska, Chief Executive, Renewable Energy Association

The UK Dept. of Energy (DECC) has published a new consultation on adjusting financial support for injecting biomethane from anaerobic digestion and other renewable sources into the gas grid.

While the consultation, which runs for only four weeks, acknowledges the value of biomethane for making a significant, cost-effective contribution to the UK’s 2020 renewable energy target, the measures it proposes could do as much damage to the green gas sector as the current review of the Renewables Obligation is doing to the large scale solar power sector, according to the UK’s Renewable Energy Association (REA).

While the REA welcomes the intent of this review – to ensure an increasing and increasingly cost-effective contribution of biomethane to low carbon heating and transport – the association is concerned about the detail of the proposals, which in the worst case scenario could halt all but the smallest biomethane developments.

The current level of support for biomethane is 7.5p/kWh, which is well below the Government’s 2 ROC ‘value for money cap’.

While industry broadly agrees there is cause for reducing the tariffs, cutting too deep and too fast will mean that biogas will only be used for electricity generation rather than grid injection, meaning the UK misses out on its valuable contribution to cost-effective low carbon heating and transport.

Dr Nina Skorupska, REA Chief Executive, said: It is right that Government looks again at the green gas RHI tariff because the original policy design preceded any actual development in the UK, yet the pace and depth of the changes give real cause for concern.

“Green gas can be injected into the grid and drawn upon at any time for heating or transportation. Shrinking the tariff so it only works for very small plants is simply inefficient in terms of maximising the value of the biomethane feedstocks.

“The whole industry is going to have to work fast, hard and smart to ensure these proposals help rather than hinder the sustainable growth of the UK green gas industry.”

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