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Bioenergy has potential to be a low carbon ‘game changer’ for the UK’s future energy system says the ETI

2 October 2017

Geraint Evans
Geraint Evans Programme Manager

Biomass is already one of the largest and most versatile sources of renewable energy in the UK. To keep the UK on the trajectory for scaling up domestic biomass production into the 2050s, there should be a steady increase in the planting of second generation bioenergy crops on marginal arable land or appropriate grassland in the UK by about 30,000 hectares per year.

Steadily increasing the planting of bioenergy crops in the UK would allow the sector to ‘learn by doing’ and develop best practices. This approach will also help the sector to monitor and manage impacts on other markets and the wider environment more effectively.

But as we increase the size of the bioenergy sector, we will find that we are not able to rely on one type of biomass alone so the capability to be feedstock flexible will always be important in the UK.

We also need to understand that as we move towards our future low-carbon energy system, the most effective use of biomass may change. This does not mean bioenergy plays only a ‘transitional’ role in meeting our targets; rather that we will see the most valuable role for bioenergy reallocated, as the wider energy system decarbonises.

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