UK sees 40% rise in power from on-site biogas

The UK increased its power generation from on-site biogas plants by 40% in 2014, according to a survey by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

DECC’s annual Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics found that the farming sector led the country’s surge in on-site biogas capacity, from 164 MW in 2013 to 216 MW last year.

In generating 40% more electricity in 2014 than in the previous year, anaerobic digestion (AD) plants pulled ahead of generation from sewage sludge in the water sector, and passed 1 TWh for the first time.

DECC said the surge reflected a doubling in the number of farm-based biogas plants, with 147 installed at the end of 2014, as well as an increase in AD capacity for food waste.

The Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA) said its own report, also released this month, showed a surge in the deployment of biomethane plants in 2014-2015. ‘This isn’t yet reflected in DECC’s figures,’ the group said, ‘but we would expect 2015 statistics to highlight the growth impact from the additional biomethane production.’

However, the ADBA also warned that ‘This strong progress is now at serious risk as a result of recent hostile government policy’. The trade group cited the UK’s summer budget cuts, uncertainty over the future of the Renewable Heat Incentive, government review of pre-accreditation for the feed-in tariff and ongoing cuts to incentive levels as potential risk factors for the sector.

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