On 10 August 2023, the UK government published its long-awaited Biomass Strategy, which highlights the crucial role biomass plays in the country’s plans to achieve net zero carbon and energy security.
Terravesta welcomes the report and its support for the cultivation of Miscanthus, advocating 17,000 hectares of energy crops planted per year from 2038, or 9,000 hectares per year from 2038 in the ‘restricted supply’ scenario.
The strategy sets out a clear vision, supporting sustainable biomass across the UK economy and backing Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS).
It states that biomass can play a significant role in decarbonising almost all sectors of the economy and that the UK is already a world leader in biomass policy and technology, with biomass accounting for 8.6% of our energy supply in 2022.
It highlights its ability to provide low carbon energy, displace the use of fossil fuels in materials and produce negative emissions when combined with carbon capture and storage, but says that this requires clear criteria for what constitutes sustainable biomass and the implementation of robust monitoring, verification, and reporting processes.
“The report encourages a significant increase in Miscanthus planting,” says Dr Michael Squance, Terravesta’s director of science and technology.
“We are in support of a more sustainable biomass model in the UK, and of the significant commitment to BECCS and the removal of carbon from the atmosphere,” he says.
“But we need more clarity on policy. Miscanthus should be more accessible to farmers, with more recognition of the multiple ecosystem services it provides.”
Dr Squance explains that the ‘Land Use Framework’ which is expected later this year should help to provide more clarity on policy.
“Farmers need guidance and clarity that reinforces the benefits of Miscanthus for the land and the environment. We also want to understand how the government will ensure a sustainable local supply of feedstock for BECCS,” adds Dr Squance.
The full Biomass Strategy report can be accessed here.