Conservatives include anaerobic digestion in `energy revolution` plans
David Cameron plans to bring anaerobic digestion technology on stream to create a low carbon economy. He unveiled a green paper, The low carbon economy, security, stability and green growth, setting out Conservative policies that will strengthen the economy, help guarantee energy security and protect the environment for future generations. Cameron said that he has a vision of a “different Britain” where “power suppliers no longer depend to any extent on imported oil and gas” and homes are “heated by gas we produce from our own agricultural and domestic waste”.
The Conservatives want to enable biogas, methane produced from the AD of farm and food wastes, to replace up to 50% of our residential gas heating by changing the regulatory regime for the gas and introducing ‘feed-in-tariffs’ for biogas. By doing this, they want to “reduce our dependence on imported gas”.
They advocate that with a gas feed-in tariff, a fixed price is paid for the gas produced from decentralised sources that make use of AD technologies. The Conservatives propose that a regulated tariff should be paid to the generator for the amount of biogas exported to the grid.
The National Grid forecast that the development of AD infrastructure and biogas production has the potential to be a significant source of fuel for the UK.
Other proposals include introducing small-scale low carbon technologies that can generate electricity on a small scale. As well as AD, other technologies such as mechanical biological treatment and combined heat and power generators could also be important.
It also states that the “efficiency of incinerators is key, and to qualify as a low carbon energy source, energy-from-waste must make use of non-recyclable materials” and meet “EU energy efficiency thresholds”.
The report does refer to recycling six times. It mainly states that it is widely accepted that minimising residual waste through prevention, reuse and recycling is an “important element in preventing landfill and the resulting methane emissions”.
Cameron likened his proposals to the “internet revolution” that could create hundreds of thousands of new green collar jobs in the UK by 2020. “If we do not make these changes soon other countries could take these valuable, skilled jobs.”
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