Sustainable, low carbon bioenergy has helped the United Kingdom move to a low-carbon energy mix, increase our energy security, and keep costs down for consumers. I would, however, like to assure you that the UK Government continues to recognise climate change as one of the most serious long-term threats facing this country, especially following the IPCC report’s sobering conclusions, and therefore considers the use of biomass to be a transitional technology.
Here in Scotland, like elsewhere in the UK, there are a number of schemes that provide subsidies for biomass energy generation. These include the Renewable Heat Incentive and Contracts for Difference, which are UK Government schemes, and the Scottish Government’s Renewables Obligation Scotland scheme. Any change to the Renewables Obligation Scotland scheme would, therefore, be the responsibility of the Scottish Government.
The UK Government is clear that only biomass from sustainable sources should be used here in the UK, and that bioenergy suppliers must report on the sustainability of their operations if they want to claim subsidy support. These criteria are among the toughest in the world. I believe that this approach has helped the UK reduce carbon emissions by 43% since 1990 while continuing to grow our economy, and I know that the UK Government is committed to building on that progress as we transition away from biomass energy generation in the future.