Monday, December 18, 2017

Anaerobic Digestion Central to Goverment Policy Goals UK Climate Change Committee Chair Confirms

Lord Deben at ADBA National Conference 2017.

Lord Deben in his keynote address to the ADBA Annual Conference on 7 December 2017, said that increased production of more renewable energy from the anaerobic digestion process would be central to policy. More Climate Change/ Carbon Emissions reduction goals would be needed for the UK to comply with its existing commitments. UK policy would be further developed, and he expected this would be set-out in more detail during 2018.

Lord Deben is the influential Chair of the Committee on Climate Change and a former Environment Secretary, so these words, coming at the start of the ADA annual conference, were very welcome.

The UK AD industry has been very subdued throughout 2017, part due to a lack of implementation of a promised subsidy restoration as part of the UK Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). The other reason for inactivity has been simply not knowing the details in the small-print of the new restored RHI when it is eventually implemented.

Therefore, this was at least some news which brought the hope of increased UK anaerobic digestion plant starts during the latter half of 2018.

However, for the industry to gain the confidence to start again to invest in biogas plants at the higher rates seen over the 3 years to 2017, will depend upon the UK government ending its all-consuming pre-occupation with Brexit negotiations. 

Lord Deben pointed out that throughout MPs and Whitehall, almost all were engaged in Brexit work of some sort. He said that this was leading to the exclusion of other much-needed decision-making.

ADBA Press Release:

Lord Deben Said “AD’s story needs to be told much more widely”

Former Environment Secretary and current Committee on Climate Change Chair Lord Deben has described anaerobic digestion (AD) as ‘central to government policies’ at the Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA) National Conference 2017 in Westminster.

Lord Deben, a renowned environmentalist who gained prominence among green groups by introducing the 1995 Environment Act and Landfill Tax when Secretary of State for the Environment in the 1990s, gave the keynote presentation at the conference, which brings together AD industry stakeholders with politicians, policymakers, and academics to discuss key issues affecting the AD industry.

AD recycles organic wastes and processes purpose-grown energy crops into renewable heat and power, clean transport fuel, and digestate biofertiliser, which can help to restore nutrients and organic matter to soils.

Lord Deben said:
“We’ve had a long period in which AD has not been given the advantages it should have been given […] AD is not just a mechanism for providing energy but also makes an important contribution to the health of our soils”.
He added: 
“AD’s story needs to be told much more widely […] AD and bioresources are a very important contributor in the fight to rid ourselves of climate change, improve our soils, and eliminate large amounts of waste”.
In a recent foreword for the ADBA’s quarterly member magazine, Lord Deben also described AD as ‘an essential weapon in the war against climate change’ and ‘an increasingly efficient way of completing the system by taking what cannot be reused or directly recycled and giving it real value’. The CCC has previously described injection of biomethane into the gas grid as a ‘low-regret opportunity’.

The ADBA National Conference 2017 also featured the launch of ADBA’s AD Certification Scheme, as well as panel sessions on the role of AD in farming, transport, and renewable heat and on different food waste collection systems.

In another keynote session, Professor Ian Boyd, Chief Scientific Adviser at Defra, welcomed ADBA’s AD Certification Scheme and highlighted AD’s ability to recycle valuable nutrients including nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous.

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