2013

139630 – Biomass – 19 January 2013

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what discussions he has had with Ministers in the Scottish Government on the Scottish Government’s decision to use planning regulations to reduce the effect of large biomass co- firing and coal conversion on domestic wood suppliers and users; and if he will make a statement.

John Hayes: DECC Ministers meet regularly with Ministers in the Scottish Government to discuss a range of issues. As has been the case with successive administrations, it is not the Government’s practice to provide details of all such meetings.

140854 – Biofuels – 1 February 2013

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the statement in the Friends of the Earth, RSPB and Greenpeace’s Dirtier than coal? report that burning whole trees for biomass energy generation would increase greenhouse gas emissions by at least 49% compared to using coal over 40 years; and if he will make a statement.

Gregory Barker: The report produced by Friends of the Earth, RSPB and Greenpeace included an assessment of research commissioned by DECC to inform the UK Bioenergy Strategy.
This research on UK forests and carbon impacts looked at different scenarios for the management of a UK forest and for a range of uses for the harvested wood. It found that optimal greenhouse gas (GHG) emission savings can be achieved when harvested wood is used primarily for timber where possible, with energy produced alongside it as a co-product.
The research did not conclude that the use for energy of any ‘whole tree’, a term that encompasses both small and/or diseased trees, would result in higher GHG emissions than the coal replaced. In the case of smaller or diseased trees, energy may be their only practical use.
The UK Bioenergy Strategy was jointly published in April 2012 by DECC, DEFRA and the Department for Transport. This sets out four key principles to steer a sustainable course, which will underpin our bioenergy policy in the years to come. These principles include that bioenergy must deliver real greenhouse gas savings looking out to 2050 and beyond.
The UK Bioenergy Strategy, its underpinning research and a supplementary note covering key technical issues are available from the following website: www.gov.uk

Energy Bill Report Stage – 4 June 2013 – Column 1435

Guy Opperman: … I urge the Government to address the future role of … biomass. The continuing domestic subsidy for biomass is having an impact on the jobs of all utilisers of wood. It means that the demand for timber from energy companies increases, and so too does the price. The subsidy gives those companies a competitive advantage, enabling them to purchase timber more cheaply than any other provider in the country. I repeat my calls for the subsidy to be scrapped, so that the wood panel industry—and, indeed, anyone who utilises timber—can compete on a level playing field, while continuing to decarbonise.

164360 and 164361 – Forests – 11 July 2013

Susan Elan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what percentage increase in woodland under active management is expected over the next five years; and what proportion of that increase will be coniferous commercial forestry stands; [164360]

(2) what proportion of the woodland brought under active management between April 2011 and December 2012 was commercial coniferous forestry. [164361]

Mr Heath: Commercial coniferous forestry is not a recognised designation used by the Forestry Commission in its performance indicators for England or the National Forest Inventory. Nevertheless, it is reasonable to assume that coniferous woodland in active management is for commercial purposes.

The proportion of all woodland in active management in England increased from 52% in April 2011 to 53% in December 2012. Less than 3% of this 1% increase was conifer woodland.

In January 2013 DEFRA’s Forestry and Woodlands Policy Statement for England set out our aspiration to increase the percentage of woodland in management. We estimate that the shared programme of activities could bring two thirds of woodland into active management in the next five years. This would be an increase of nearly 14% from the position at December 2012.

We have not specified whether the increase will be in conifer or broadleaf woodland.

165851 and 165852 – Forests – 29 August 2013

Mrs McGuire: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many hectares of woodland have been brought into active management since 2002; and what proportion of such woodland was commercial coniferous forestry. [165851]

Mr Heath: The current methodology used by the Forestry Commission to assess the area of woodland in England in active management can only provide figures back to March 2008. This means it is unable to compare directly today’s actively managed area with that in 2002. Between March 2008 and March 2013 there was a net increase in actively managed woodland of 58,178 hectares.

Commercial coniferous forestry is not a recognised designation used by the Forestry Commission in its performance indicators for England or the National Forest Inventory. However, just over 22% of this net total increase in actively managed woodland was conifer woodland. It is reasonable to assume that conifer woodland in active management is used for commercial purposes.

Mrs McGuire: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of new forest cover up to 2060 will be commercial coniferous stands. [165852]

Mr Heath: In January 2013 DEFRA’s Forestry and Woodlands Policy Statement included a commitment to “Work with the sector to find new ways of encouraging landowners to plant more trees where it best suits them and their local conditions”. It is therefore primarily up to the landowner to define the nature of woodland planted and the management objective. However, we would expect a significant proportion of conifer woodland to be included in new planting in England over the next few decades.

174278 – Biofuels – 7 November 2013

Susan Elan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether his Department will publish data from 2012-13 on the use of UK biomass for electricity and combined heat and power; and if he will make a statement. [174278]

Gregory Barker: The Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES), which the Department publishes each year, sets out the amount of UK biomass used to generate electricity (table 6.6) and in combined heat and power plants each year (table 7.2). Current data cover the calendar year 2012. The data for 2013 will be published in July 2014.

Ofgem also publishes each year the data provided to it under sustainability reporting requirements for the renewables obligation (RO). Recent changes to the RO require information to be provided on the country of origin. The raw data for the year 2012-13 are expected to be published by 31 March 2014.

174277 – Ofgem – 7 November 2013

Susan Elan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change for what reasons Ofgem has not yet published its Annual Sustainability report 2012-13; when Ofgem intends to publish that report; and if he will make a statement. [174277]

Michael Fallon: Ofgem published this at the beginning of July 2013. The link to the report is as follows: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications-and-updates/ofgem%E2%80%99s-annual-report-and-accounts-2012-13?docid=25&refer=About%20us/annlrprt

175202 – RHI – 11 November 2013

Mrs McGuire: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change when his Department will publish its response to the consultation on Renewable Heat Incentive: Expanding the non-domestic scheme; and if he will make a statement. [175202]

Gregory Barker: I am currently finalising the details of the expansion of the non-domestic RHI scheme alongside the response to the tariff review consultation, and have committed to confirming the way forward later this autumn.

175190, 175601, 175605 – Biomass – 18 November 2013

Mrs McGuire: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps he is taking to ensure that generating stations using biomass to generate electricity adhere to their forecast domestic wood use; and if he will make a statement. [175190]

Gregory Barker: We continue to monitor domestic wood use by biomass generating stations, both through their returns on actual use under the sustainability reporting requirements of the renewables obligation and through the forecasts large scale generators provide to the Department. We intend to publish the aggregated results of these each year:
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/246006/UK_wood_and_biomass.pdf

We assess the aggregated results of these forecasts and compare against the Department’s previous biomass availability forecasts. The most recent set of wood use data supported the Department’s initial wood use estimates (from the renewables obligation banding review) and were within our availability estimates (from the Bioenergy Strategy). The Department has no plans to ensure individual generating stations using biomass adhere to their individual forecast domestic wood use, which are by their very nature subject to change, and would involve practical implementation problems.

Sir Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) with reference to his Department’s publication, Use of UK Biomass for Electricity and CHP, published on 2 October 2013, what assessment he has made of the data presented in that document; and if he will make a statement; [175601]

(2) what assessment he has made of the subsidised use of domestic virgin wood for biomass electricity generation; and if he will make a statement. [175605]

Michael Fallon: As part of the impact assessment to the Renewables Obligation Banding Review the Department assessed the amount of woody biomass, including domestic and imported, that is likely to be used for electricity generation up to 2017.

This year we have aggregated data provided to Ofgem under the Renewables Obligation biomass sustainability reporting requirements. We also asked all large scale electricity generators using biomass to provide the Department with an estimate of the amount of UK-sourced wood they expect to source over the coming five years. The results of these two analyses have now been published:
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/246006/UK_wood_and_biomass.pdf

These data support the Department’s initial estimates of the amount of UK biomass that is expected to be used for electricity generation up to 2017 (of between 2.5 and 3.5 million oven dried tonnes (modt)). Use of UK biomass for electricity has remained stable over the 2009-12 period at between 2.3 and 2.5 modt (of which between 1.3 and 1.6 modt was wood).

175680 – Biomass – 21 November 2013

Mrs McGuire: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what sanctions are available if generating stations using biomass to generate electricity exceed their forecasted domestic wood use; and if he will make a statement. [175680]

Gregory Barker: I refer the right hon. Member to the answer I gave her on 18 November 2013, Official Report, column 719W.

Westminster Hall Debate – Skills (North-East) – 27 November 2013 – Column 95WH

Guy Opperman: … I want to give examples of two other local businesses. The first is Egger, in my constituency, which is the biggest private sector employer in Northumberland, with more than 550 employees. Recently, £4 million has been invested in an engineering academy for more than 40 apprentices and other engineering staff, which I opened last month with Michael Egger. He clearly sees his employees as the key to the future prosperity of the business, and the academy is the latest phase in more than £100 million of investment in the Hexham plant over the past six years. Egger’s importance cannot be overstated; it is responsible not only for 550 local jobs, but for 1,500 other jobs that are linked in through forestry and other businesses.

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