The Forestry Commission in England is supporting the development of woodfuel – a clean, efficient and renewable energy source.
The Forestry Commission’s Woodfuel Strategy for England (PDF 3.9 MB) was launched in 2007. The main aim of the strategy is to bring an additional two million tonnes of wood into the market, annually, by 2020 saving 400,000 tonnes of carbon a year – the equivalent of 3.6 million barrels of crude oil and enough to supply 250,000 homes with energy. To achieve this target Forestry Commission will be focusing efforts on the potential wood resource available in the 60% of English woodlands that are currently under-managed.
A woodfuel implementation plan is currently being developed which will set out how the Forestry Commission plans to achieve the strategy’s challenging targets
National Energy Policy
The UK Government is committed to combating climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% of 1990 levels by 2050. In 2008, Government signed up to European targets to produce 15% of all energy consumed in the UK from renewable sources, equivalent to an eight-fold increase in renewable energy consumption from current levels by 2020.
Renewable heat and in particular biomass are expected to play a key role (up to 30% of the target) in delivering the UK RES, which was published in July 2009. To reach the UK’s 15% renewable energy target, potential contributions from the heat, power and transport sectors are:
- 12% of UK heat generated from renewables, up from negligible levels in 2009; and
- More than 30% of our electricity generated from renewables, up from 5% today.
The UK Government will consult in 2009 on the introduction of a Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) to help meet the EU 2020 target. The RHI will be crucially important to the woodfuel sector as it will provide financial assistance to generators of renewable heat and is expected to be in place by April 2011.
- The incentive is expected to apply to the generation of renewable heat at all levels, whether it is in households, communities or at an industrial scale.
- The RHI will probably be banded, for example, by size or technology.
- The incentive payments will be funded by a levy on suppliers of fossil fuels for heat.