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UK’s Decc confirms Roc support for biomass

25 Jul 2012, 10.56 am GMT

UK's Decc confirms biomass support

London, 25 July (Argus) — The UK's Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) today confirmed the results of its renewable obligation certificate (Roc) banding consultation, with mixed news and further consultations ahead for biomass generators.

The results, which give UK biomass developers certainty over the level of subsidy they will receive in April 2013-March 2017, ensure the UK government retains the incentive for coal-to-biomass conversions but introduce a series of tariffs for different levels of co-firing.

The banding for biomass co-firing of under 50pc dropped to 0.3 Roc/MWh from 0.5 Roc/MWh. A new mid-range category, for co-firing of 50-85pc, will receive 0.6 Roc/MWh, while the high range, 85-100pc, will receive 0.7 Roc/MWh in 2013-14 before rising to 0.9 Roc/MWh in 2014-15 (see table).

The support level for conversion of coal-fired plants to biomass was confirmed at 1 Roc/MWh. Dedicated biomass plants will continue to receive 1.5 Roc/MWh until 31 March 2016, before falling to 1.4 Roc/MWh thereafter.

The UK government says support for enhanced co-firing has been adjusted to stepped levels that “better reflect the cost elements of different co-firing levels and what is affordable within the framework”.

The introduction of a unit by unit approach, rather than the previous policy which aligned a subsidy to the full plant, provides more flexibility to generators to move to full conversion over time.

The incentive for dedicated biomass plants has been consistent with what was announced in the consultation review, with the UK government seemingly keen to reduce the large number of proposed projects.

“We have retained a cautious approach to new-build dedicated biomass plants aimed at bringing forward only limited deployment, holding to the 1.5 Roc/MWh support level digressing to 1.4 Roc/MWh in the final year,” said Office for renewable Energy Deployment chief executive Hugh McNeal. “There will be a further consultation shortly on a dedicated biomass cap and on further tightening of the greenhouse gas standard in the near future. The future developments of the market are extremely difficult to predict and there is a risk that increased demand from bioenergy could lead to price rises for certain biomass feedstocks. We will therefore be working with large power generators on a voluntary disclosure process on the future demand for domestic feedstocks.”

The market is still awaiting details on the additional consultation for co-firing, the supplier cap for dedicated biomass plants and the cost control mechanism for enhanced co-firing.

UK renewable obligation certificate (Roc) banding

Technology

Current support (2012-13) Roc/MWh

Post-consultation support Roc/MWh

Comments and other changes

Co-firing (standard)

0.5

Less than 50pc co-firing: 0.3 proposed for 2013-15 and 0.5 in 2015-16

Unit by unit approach with Roc levels for 2013-15 subject to further consultation

Biomass conversion

No band previously but generators were receiving 1.5

1

New band. Unit by unit approach

Enhanced co-firing

No band previously but generators received 0.5

50-85pc co-firing receive 0.6;

New band. Unit by unit approach. Cost control mechanism to be introduced, subject to consultation

85-100pc co-firing receive 0.7 in 2013-14, rising to 0.9 in 2014-15

Dedicated biomass

1.5

1.5 to remain until 31March 2016, then 1.4 from 1 April 2016

Introduction of a supplier cap, subject to consultation

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