2012

Biofuels – 17 January 2012

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will consider the recommendation by the Committee on Climate Change in its Bioenergy Review that his Department’s Bioenergy Strategy includes an assessment of the global wood industry; and if he will make a statement.

Gregory Barker: Yes. The cross-Government UK bioenergy strategy is examining three main issues:
the availability of sustainably-sourced feedstocks to 2020 and beyond; the potential impacts (economic and carbon) of using biomass in the energy sector including for alternative uses such as by the wood industry; and the most appropriate uses of biomass feedstocks in the energy sector (electricity, heat and transport) to 2020 and beyond taking into account wider Government objectives such as cost-effectiveness, carbon abatement potential, renewables targets and security of supply.

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what effect will the recommendation by the Committee on Climate Change that the use of woody biomass in construction should be a priority have on his Department’s Bioenergy Strategy; and if he will make a statement.

Gregory Barker: The cross-Government UK bio-energy strategy will be responding to the recommendations of the Committee on Climate Change’s bioenergy review and is due for publication in the spring.

Mrs McGuire: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will assess the relevance to his Department’s policies of the recommendations in the report commissioned by the Forestry Commission Scotland and the Scottish Government on supporting biomass electricity in the Renewables Obligation (Scotland); and if he will make a statement.

Charles Hendry: The consultation on the renewables obligation (RO), the main support mechanism for large-scale renewable electricity generation in England and Wales, closed on 12 January. We are considering all consultation responses and relevant information, including the biomass electricity report recently prepared for Scotland and cross-Government work to develop a UK bioenergy strategy, to ensure that RO support levels deliver value for money for consumer spend on energy and across the bioeconomy more widely.

Biomass – 18 January 2012

Susan Elan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the effects of his Department’s policy to incentivise co-firing, conversion and dedicated biomass on wood fuel resources.

Gregory Barker: As part of our consultation on the renewables obligation banding review, DECC published a partial impact assessment which included consideration of the impact of its proposals on sustainably-sourced wood fuel resources. Resource supply scenarios indicate that by 2020 global woody bioenergy resource that could be available for use by the UK bioenergy industry could be in the region of 170-515 TWh. Modelling for the renewables obligation banding review suggests approximately 110 TWh of woody fuels will be required for conversion, co-firing and dedicated biomass in 2020.

The consultation closed on 12 January. DECC intends to publish the Government response and full impact assessment in the spring, informed by the submissions received and the conclusions of the cross-Government bio-energy strategy, due in March. The strategy will set out a strategic framework for the use of bioenergy to 2020 and is examining three main issues:

The availability of sustainably sourced feedstocks to 2020 and beyond;
The potential impacts (economic and carbon) of using biomass in the energy sector including for alternative uses for bio-resources; and
The most appropriate use of biomass feedstocks in the energy sector (electricity, heat and transport) to 2020 and beyond taking into account wider Government objectives such as cost-effectiveness, carbon abatement potential, renewables targets and security of supply.

Feedstocks – 9 February 2012

Guy Opperman: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what assessment his Department has made of the capacity for domestic wood feedstock to meet the demands of biomass generation in addition to those of UK wood processing industries; from which locations his Department expects any further supply to be sourced; what assessment his Department has made of the effect on UK wood processing industries of biomass demands for domestic wood feedstocks; and if he will make a statement.

Gregory Barker: The Department is leading a cross-Government UK Bioenergy Strategy considering these issues which we expect to publish in March. We are discussing our assessments closely with representatives of the wood processing and other industries to ensure we have the fullest possible evidence base.

Guy Opperman: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what estimate he has made of the energy that will be generated from domestic wood feedstock supplies in each year until 2020; and if he will make a statement.

Gregory Barker: Estimates of biomass electricity generation will be included in the Government response to the recent consultation on the renewables obligation banding review which will be published later this year.

Renewables Obligation – 3 July 2012

Susan Elan Jones: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions his Department has had with the Department for Energy and Climate Change on measures to reduce the cost of subsidising biomass through the Renewables Obligation.

Chloe Smith: The Treasury holds ongoing discussions with the Department of Energy and Climate Change about how to ensure its policies are cost effective and affordable, as with all spending Departments.

Timber – 3 July 2012

Susan Elan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment her Department has made of the effect on (a) the wood market, (b) the wood panel industry and (c) other wood processing industries of not differentiating subsidy support for biomass feedstocks sourced domestically and internationally; and if she will make a statement.

Charles Hendry: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

DECC has carefully considered the potential impacts on the wood products industry of biomass electricity incentives.
Analysis published alongside the Government’s Bioenergy Strategy shows that the UK is a price taker in the global market and that UK wood prices have not correlated with energy demand in recent years. The use of sustainably sourced biomass feedstocks by the energy sector is set to increase’ both in the UK and globally. However, for commercial reasons the very large majority of the UK increase is expected to be fuelled by imported feedstocks under long-term supply contracts, and as such the Government does not consider that biomass deployment in the electricity sector will have a significant impact on the dynamics of the domestic UK wood market.

Recognising the scope for market uncertainty, DECC is working closely with the wood products industry and biomass electricity generators to ensure robust monitoring measures are in place for biomass feedstocks. These measures will provide early warning of any supply risks from the electricity sector and give confidence to the wood products industry and its investors that domestic supplies of feedstocks will continue to be available.

Wood – 4 July 2012

Neil Parish: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the potential effect on the economy if the wood panel industry were to be displaced by the biomass industry; and if he will make a statement.

Mr Prisk: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
The wood panel industry makes a valuable contribution to the economy and to employment. The publication “Forestry Statistics 2011” shows that in 2009 the Gross Value Added (GVA) of the wood panel industry was £0.17 billion.

A full assessment of the use of biomass, including the potential implications for the wood panel industry, is contained in the document UK Bioenergy strategy published on 25 April 2012. The Government’s policy is set out as follows;

“Support for bioenergy should aim to maximise the overall benefits and minimise costs (quantifiable and non-quantifiable) across the economy. Policy makers should consider the impacts and unintended consequences of policy interventions on the wider energy system and economy, including non-energy industries.”

The document also presents evidence that “Optimal GHG (greenhouse gas) scenarios generally involve use of forest for the production of both material products and bioenergy, with re-use and recycling wherever possible.”

Wood Panel Industry and Forestry Sector – 6 July 2012

Neil Parish: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the contribution of the (a) wood panel industry, (b) wood processing sector and (c) forestry sector to the economy; and if he will make a statement.

Jim Paice: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
The Forestry Commission publishes data on the economic contribution made by the forestry sector. The latest information is in Forestry Statistics 2011 which shows that in 2009 the Gross Value Added (GVA) in the wood panel industry was £0.17 billion. GVA in the wider primary wood processing sector (sawmilling, panels and pulp and paper) was £1.12 billion and in the same year GVA in the forestry sector was £0.38 billion.

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