UK Biomass Strategy ‘highly supportive’ of biomass, BECCS: Drax
August 11, 2023
The UK Government has published a Biomass Strategy which sets out its position on the use of biomass in the UK’s plans for delivering net zero.
The strategy outlines the potential extraordinary role which biomass can play across the economy in power, heating and transport, including a priority role for bioenergy carbon capture and storage (BECCS), which is seen as critical for meeting net zero plans due to its ability to provide large-scale carbon removals.
Will Gardiner, Drax CEO, said: “We welcome the UK government’s clear support for sustainably sourced biomass and the critical role that BECCS can play in achieving the country’s climate goals.
“The inclusion of BECCS at the top of a priority use framework is a clear signal that the UK wants to be a leader in carbon removals and Drax is ready to deliver on this ambition. We are engaged in formal discussions with the UK Government about the project and, providing these are successful, we plan to invest billions in delivering BECCS at Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire, simultaneously providing reliable, renewable power and carbon removals.
“We look forward to working alongside the government to ensure biomass is best used to contribute to net zero across the economy, through further progression of plans for BECCS and ensuring an evidence-driven, best practice approach to sustainability.”
A priority role for BECCS
The strategy reiterates the government’s ambition to deliver 5Mt pa of carbon removals by 2030, with the potential for this to increase to 23Mt by 2035 and up to 81Mt by 2050, with BECCS expected to provide the majority of the total in 2050.
In the period to 2035 government intends to facilitate the use of biomass for power and heating, whilst supporting projects transitioning to BECCS. BECCS projects, which includes Drax Power Station, are seen as a priority use of biomass given existing generation assets with established supply chains and carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology ready to be deployed. Beyond 2035 there will remain a role for biomass without BECCS in harder to decarbonize sectors and in supporting energy security.
The strategy notes the active work in government to support BECCS, including the development of business models.
Biomass availability and sustainability
The strategy considers the global availability of sustainable biomass, finding that by using domestic and imported biomass sources there is sufficient material to meet estimated future demand in the 6th Carbon Budget.
Alongside the increased use of sustainable biomass, government will continue to develop sustainability criteria and Drax supports the development of robust standards across sectors.
A link to the strategy can be found here.
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