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Bioenergy could employ 50,000 in UK

Apr. 27, 2012 - A report by the UK’s National Centre for Biorenewable Energy, Fuels and Materials (NNFCC) suggests that biomass could deliver up to 50,000 jobs by 2020.


April 27, 2012
By NNFCC

Apr. 27, 2012 – A new report
by bioeconomy consultants NNFCC (National Centre for
Biorenewable Energy, Fuels and Materials) for the UK Government, suggests that
heat and power from biomass could deliver up to 50,000 jobs over the
next eight years.

Biomass will have a major role in
delivering the UK’s 2020 renewable energy targets. However there has
been a lack of reliable data on the wider benefits this potentially
significant industry could bring to the UK economy,” said author of the
report Fiona McDermott.

The study was commissioned by the UK Department of Energy and Climate
Change – alongside two other pieces of NNFCC research on the potential
for domestically grown energy crops and barriers to bioenergy deployment
– to provide evidence for the Government's Bioenergy Strategy.

Analysis is based on estimates from the Renewables Roadmap and
suggests that employment in the bioenergy sector will exceed that of all
other renewable energies due to the extra demands of feedstock
production, supply and handling. This added benefit is currently
underestimated but should be used to attract and secure future support,
says the report.

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By far the biggest area for jobs creation was the biomass heat sector
which could create up to 30,000 jobs by 2020 – with more than half of
those jobs being permanent. Electricity from biomass could similarly
offer up to 18,000 jobs by 2020 and anaerobic digestion a further 2,500.

In total this could generate between 35,000-50,000 jobs in bioenergy
by 2020. The majority of these jobs are likely to be technical roles,
primarily in the engineering and construction sectors, required during
both the construction and operation of new bioenergy plant.

In addition to this there are significant employment opportunities
for the UK biomass supply sector; including roles in feedstock
production, harvesting, processing and haulage. However the number of
people employed in the sector will be highly dependent on the level of
uptake, origin of the feedstocks and the supply chain structures used.

The evaluation of potential levels of employment in the bioenergy
sector in the report highlights that there are significant opportunities
for the UK, and that the economy is likely to benefit considerably from
deployment of bioenergy.

Commenting on the publication of DECC’s Bioenergy Strategy, Gaynor Hartnell, Chief Executive of the UK’s Renewable Energy Association,
said: “Government expects around half its renewable energy target will
be met by wood, energy crops and other forms of biomass such as wastes
from agriculture. These will displace fossil fuels for the production of
heat, transport fuels and power.

“Some of this biomass will come from the UK and some will be
imported.  But all of it must be sustainable, deliver significant carbon
savings and not impact on biodiversity. If it doesn’t meet strict
criteria on sustainability, it won’t count as renewable. Imported
biomass fuels for power generation can be just as green as when they are
sourced locally, if used in large stations at ports serviced by large
cargo ships. The UK currently imports 27% of its energy*, and adding
sustainable biomass to the mix improves the nation’s energy security as
well as our green credentials.”

For additional information, please see NNFCC.


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