A government-appointed task force has been launched to stimulate biomass supply and demand in an attempt to meet renewable energy targets and assist farmers.
The food and farming minister, Larry Whitty, also unveiled a £3.5m UK Bio-Energy Infrastructure Scheme providing grants to help harvest, store, process and supply biomass for energy production.
Whitty said: “Barriers have to be overcome if we are to establish confidence in the industry, and we want to make it easier for producers to get their biomass out of the fields and forests and on to the market, to make it a viable alternative energy source.”
The task force’s one-year study of biomass will be led by Sir Ben Gill, ex-president of the National Farmers’ Union, with the chief executive of United Utilities, John Roberts, and Nick Hartley of Oxera Consulting.
The government has given £66m in capital grants for biomass projects since 2002. The Renewables Obligation requires electricity suppliers to obtain 15% of their electricity from renewable sources, including biomass, by 2015.