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UK report highlights economic impact of bioenergy, biofuels

By Erin Voegele | May 13, 2014

The U.K.-based Renewable Energy Association has published the results of an analysis that determined the renewable energy supports more than 100,000 jobs in the U.K. and has attracted almost £30 billion ($50.95 billion) in investment since 2010. The report, titled “Review—Renewable Energy View: 2014,” provides a breakdown of the economic impacts for biofuels, biogas, biomass energy and a variety of other energy categories.

“This report highlights the close relationship between clear, stable policies and sustained growth and jobs in the renewable energy industry. The Government’s renewable electricity policies have incentivized nearly £28 billion of private investment since 2010, achieving annual growth rates of over 20%. The world’s first Renewable Heat Incentive is also beginning to spur positive growth in green heating. This is a tremendous success story,” said REA Chief Executive Nina Skorupska.

Regarding liquid biofuels, the report notes that the sector employed 3,510 people across the U.K. supply chain in 2012/13, with 200 companies involved in that supply chain. The sector turnover is estimated to be £530 million during that time. Jobs in the sector include those in design and development, manufacturing, construction and installation, feedstock production, operations and maintenance, and distribution. Overall, the report estimates the U.K. could consume 4.205 million tons of oil equivalent (toe) of liquid biofuels by 2020, up from an estimated 2.153 million toe in 2014.

According to the REA, biofuel consumption increased by an average of 3.8 percent per year from 2009 through 2013. However, without an improved policy framework, it seems unlikely the U.K.’s legally binding 2020 sub-target of 10 percent renewable transport will be achieved.

The anaerobic digestion industry employed an estimated 2,640 people in the U.K. in 2012/13, with 140 companies involved in the supply chain. The sector is estimated to have a turnover of £360 million. The report shows that government forecasts currently predict annual energy generation from anaerobic digestion systems in the U.K. is expected to increase from 676 GWh in 2013 to 3,121 GWh in 2020.

The biomass boiler and wood stove sector is supported an estimated 4,510 jobs across the supply chain in 2012/13, with 210 U.K. companies active in the supply chain. The sector’s turnover is an estimated £6001 million. An estimated 6,408 GWh of thermal energy was forecast to be produced by the second in 2013, with forecasts increasing to 42,008 GWh in 2020.

The biomass combined-heat-and-power (CHP) sector in the U.K. employed an estimated 2,180 people across the supply chain in 2012/13, with 140 U.K. companies active in the supply chain. The sector turnover was an estimated £370 million.

The U.K. biomass power sector employed approximately 3,320 people in 2012/13 across the supply chain, with 170 U.K. companies active in the supply chain. Sector turnover was £500 million. Annual generation is expected to increase from 9,275 GWh in 2013 to 22,826 GWh in 2020. Installed capacity is expected to grow from 2,024 MW in 2013 to between 2,505 GW and 3,366 GW, depending on which government forecast is referenced.

The mixed energy from waste sector, which includes combustion, pyrolysis, gasification, and landfill gas, supported approximately 6,550 jobs across the U.K. supply chain in 2012/13, with U.K. 340 companies in that supply chain. The sector’s turnover was £830 million. Annual energy generation for the sector is expected to increase from 8,708 GWh in 2013 to 14,189 GWh in 2020. Installed capacity is expected to increase from 1,942 MW in 2013 to as high as 2,508 GW in 2020.

A full copy of the report can be downloaded from the REA website.

 

 

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