Scotland takes steps to stimulate CHP biomass

The Scottish government is to focus support for large-scale biomass power production and specifically on plants that recover heat as well as generate electricity.

The move comes on the back of a Scottish government announcement on the 14th September with regard to Renewable Obligation Scotland, according to the Combined Heat and Power Association.

Fergus Ewing - MSP
Strict efficiency standards will effectively require that all plants with electrical capacity greater than 10 MW must operate as CHP plants.

Recognizing that there is a limit to the amount of sustainable biomass fuel available, new plants will be required to operate at greater than 70 per cent efficiency in order to qualify for Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs), which will only be possible if surplus heat is captured rather than vented to the atmosphere.

A biomass power station typically operates at around 20-30 per cent efficiency, while CHP plants can reach efficiencies of over 90 per cent.

The new requirement will only apply to plants larger than 10MW, so as not to hinder deployment of smaller, decentralized biomass plant that place a lesser demand on fuel resources.

Heat capture systems are a firm part of the Scottish energy strategy with a £7m infrastructural fund in place.

On making the announcement, Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “Given the Scottish Government’s concerns over competition for a finite supply of wood and the responses to our consultation which reflected that, it is right that we are removing support for those biomass stations over 10 MW that do not provide good quality combined heat and power.”

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