Short, medium and long-term plans
As part of the strategy, the government says it will facilitate sustainable biomass deployment in the short term (2020’s) through a range of incentives and requirements covering power, heat and transport. In the medium term (up to 2035), the UK government says it intends to further develop biomass uses in power, heat and transport sectors to support the delivery of Carbon Budget 6. The strategy says this is in advance of transitioning away from unabated emission uses of biomass where possible to uses, such as BECCS.
Longer term plans are less certain, owing to wide ranging uncertainties and evidence gaps.
Looking at each of the key themes in more detail, there are some areas for the biomass sector to focus on. When it comes to sustainability, as cross-sectoral sustainability framework is developed, any new government support for biomass will be expected to meet the requirements. Government has also committed through cross-department working to ensure that environmental permitting will continue to reduce harm to health and the environment from the combustion of biomass.
Net zero principles allow for biomass to be prioritised where there are no other available alternatives for decarbonisation, recognising the fact that there are areas of the economy that are hard to decarobonise, including off grid properties. Creating a circular economy for biomass also sits highly within the strategy.
Another vital factor identified within the strategy is the need for securing a sustainable supply of biomass, both from within the UK and from imports. There are hints that sustainable requirements for biomass will be tightened, with a consultation on a sustainability framework to support this approach.