© 2019 Renewable Energy Association.

RESOURCE CENTRE

Discover more about renewable biomass power from a range of international scientists and forestry experts.

OTHER RESOURCES

Polling:

Public Perceptions of Bioenergy in the UK (Energy Technologies Institute/YouGov, 2016)

Polling conducted by YouGov found that 74% of the British public support generating energy from biomass and 80% would support and increase in its use.

Briefing:

Biomass (House of Commons Library, 2013)

This briefing by the UK's House of Commons Library from 2013 sets out some of the key policy challenges in the biomass sector. It's a bit dated now, but it's still useful as an introduction to some of the issues.

Report:

Enabling Biomass in the UK (Energy Technologies Institute)

This summary report outlines the advantages for using more sustainable biomass in the UK's energy system, noting that it will help to reduce the cost of decarbonisation by 1% of GDP, as well as improving energy security and helping farmers to diversify their revenue streams.

Journal:

World Biomass 2018/19: The International Review of the Biomass Industry (DCM, 2018)

World Biomass is an annual review of global trends and technology innovations in the biomass power industry.

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Most of the resources on this page are produced by organisations that have no association with Biomass UK. Biomass UK and the Renewable Energy Association do not necessarily endorse the findings of external materials.

If you have materials that you think should be included in our Resource Centre, please contact us.

SUPPORTING FORESTS

Forest trends report:

Historical Perspective on the Relationship between Demand and Forest Productivity in the US South (Forest2Market, 2017)

 

This report, by forestry experts Forest2Market, shows that healthy, well-regulated markets for wood products (including pellets for bioenergy) can support faster growth and carbon absorption. See p.24 for key charts.

Independent government study:

Use of N.American woody biomass in UK electricity generation: Assessment of high carbon scenarios (BEIS/Ricardo AEA, 2016)

 

In response to some campaigners' claims that certain biomass supply chain practices led to higher carbon emissions, this investigation found that such scenarios do not reflect the way the industry sources wood fuel.

Forest trends report:

US Forest Inventory and Harvest Trends on Privately-Owned Timberlands (Forest2Market, 2016)

This report demonstrates the tiny proportion of a forest that becomes wood pellets for bioenergy. Most wood goes to construction and furniture, whilst just 0.09% of the forest's standing stock is used for pellets.

Research paper:

Status and prospects for renewable energy using wood pellets from the southeastern United States (Global Change Biology, 2017)

This independent study by an international team of scientists finds that "bioenergy markets... provide an incentive for forest management practices that simultaneously benefit water quality and wildlife."

Research paper:

How is wood pellet production affecting forest conditions in the southeastern United States? (Forest Ecology & Management, 2017)

Whilst the long-term improvement of Southern US forests is clear, this study looks at more recent effects in local areas where pellets are being sourced, finding improvements to carbon storage and forestry practice.

Briefing:

An Asset to EU Forests (Bioenergy Europe, 2018)

Bioenergy Europe's briefing explains how the bioenergy industry can boost Europe's forests, which is part of the reason that 1.1million cubic metres of new wood is added to European forests every day. In the EU and other developed economies, healthy markets are a driving force for reforestation.

Blogpost:

A response from pro-bioenergy academics and conservationists to the Guardian (Crops4Energy, 2018)

Responding to a critical article in the Guardian newspaper, several academics stepped in to set the record straight, arguing that policymakers must look at real-world activities rather than imagining only worst-case scenarios.

Forestry report:

Assessment of the benefits of sustainable forest management (Poyry, 2018)

This study looks at the importance of active forest management around the world in places like Finland, the UK and the USA. Sustainable forest management can boost carbon storage and protect ecosystems.

MULTIMEDIA RESOURCES

Video:

The Biomass Sustainability Story

 

Leading environmentalist Tony Juniper explores behind the scenes of the biomass supply chain, from forest to power station.

Interactive:

Drax ForestScope

 

Discover how the UK's largest renewable power supplier sources biomass from sustainably managed forests.

Interactive:

Enviva Track & Trace

 

Explore the supply chain of Enviva, the UK's largest wood pellet supplier, in detail down to individual tracts of forest land.

Cartoon:

Bioenergy: A graphic introduction

 

This cartoon from the SUPERGEN Bioenergy Hub (a network of independent academics in the UK) looks at some of the challenges and solutions in bioenergy.

CUTTING CO2 EMISSIONS

Report:

Delivering greenhouse gas emissions savings through UK bioenergy value chains (Energy Technologies Institute, 2016)

The ETI, an organisation which models complex energy supply chains, found that Bioenergy with CCS was a carbon "game changer," able to remove up to 55million tonnes of atmospheric CO2 per year.

Report:

Biomass in a low-carbon economy (Committee on Climate Change, 2018)

The UK Government's official independent advisor on climate change, the CCC, conducted a review of how the UK sources and uses biomass. It found that we could sustainably source up to 15% of UK energy from biomass.

Letter:

Response to Chatham House (International Energy Agency, 2018)

When a former Lib Dem advisor, writing for the think tank Chatham House, made claims against biomass as an energy source, over 135 independent scientists working with the International Energy Agency wrote this letter to contest his claims, calling for better use of scientific evidence in policymaking.

Report:

The Evidence for Deploying Bioenergy with CCS (Energy Technologies Institute)

The Energy Technologies Institute looked at whether the UK could include Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) to actually remove carbon from the atmosphere - it found we could, and we should.

Report:

Special Report, Summary for Policymakers: Global Warming of 1.5C (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2018)

The Paris Agreement's target of limiting average global temperature rises to 1.5C have wide implications. This report set out four pathways for doing so, three of which make bioenergy essential to preventing catastrophe.

Report:

Mission Possible: Reaching Net-Zero Carbon Emissions from Harder-to-Abate Sectors by Mid-Century (Energy Transitions Commission, 2018)

Whilst we've made strong progress decarbonising electricity, this report looks at how to do so in much harder sectors like aviation and heavy industry.

Video:

The Evidence for Deploying Bioenergy with CCS in the UK

 

Carbon capture and storage technology is viable and essential for the UK's low-carbon future, says the Energy Technologies Institute.

Video:

IEA says bioenergy is the 'overlooked giant of renewables'

 

The International Energy Agency predicts that bioenergy will lead global growth in renewables over the next five years.

Video:

UKERC's Dr Robert Gross says we need flexible power supplies

 

UK Energy Research Council's Robert Gross explains to CarbonBrief why the UK needs power supplies that are reliable at any time.

SUPPORTING A STABLE ENERGY SYSTEM

Briefing:

Bigger picture, lower cost (USIPA / Biomass UK, 2017)

USIPA and Biomass UK submitted this joint position paper to Prof. Dieter Helm's review of energy costs, outlining how biomass helps to reduce the costs of electricity by supporting renewables like wind and solar with a flexible, reliable source of power.

Report:

UK Renewable Subsidies and Whole System Costs (NERA / 
Imperial College, 2016)

As we use more intermittent sources like wind and solar, it's more and more important to have low-carbon back-ups like biomass to ensure stable supply. This report by NERA assesses the value of such back-ups.

Report:

Independent Report on the Costs of Energy (Prof. Dieter Helm, 2018)

Oxford energy expert Prof. Dieter Helm was commissioned by the UK Government to find ways to cut the costs of energy. One key proposal was for a proper market reward for 'Equivalent Firm Power'.

Report:

Whole in One? What whole system costs means for energy policy (Frontier Economics, 2016)

Frontier Economics, who also wrote a government report on this issue, find that "forgotten costs" arising from intermittent power sources should be addressed by market redesign to reward flexible sources (like biomass).

Report:

The Costs and Impacts of Intermittency (UK Energy Research Council, 2017)

This report finds that intermittent renewables (e.g. wind and solar) add around £5-8/MWh in system management costs. Using biomass as a back-up helps us to delay far more wind and solar by keeping these costs down.

Article:

In-depth: The Whole system costs of renewables (CarbonBrief, 2017)

The leading climate change blog CarbonBrief provides this helpful review of the need for flexible power sources (like biomass) - and a market mechanism that rewards such flexibility.

Interactive:

Electric Insights

 

How is the UK generating its electricity supply right this moment? Electric Insights lets you explore the data - with biomass usually providing 5-9% of GB's power.

INVESTING IN JOBS AND INFRASTRUCTURE

Report:

Review 2018: Renewable Energy Review (REA, 2018)

The REA's annual flagship report highlights the growth in renewable power generation, as well as the number of people employed in each sub-sector. Despite many years of impressive growth, the REA issued a warning in 2018 that sector growth had begun to cool.

Report:

The Economic Impact of Drax Group in the UK (Oxford Economics, 2016)

As Europe's largest coal-to-biomass conversion project, Drax has also helped to smooth the economic effects of shutting down the UK's coal power sector, saving thousands of jobs and contributing £284m to GDP.

Report:

2018 Statistical Report (Bioenergy Europe, 2018)

Bioenergy Europe's annual Statistical Report looks at the size of the EU's bioenergy sector, where it sources fuels from, how it processes and uses them, as well as a number of other useful economic metrics.

Article:

Ports and biomass (Associated British Ports, 2018)

As the UK moves away from its dependence on coal for power, that leaves a gap in terms of jobs and infrastructure. Biomass has helped to replace coal in the energy system, but it's also created new jobs and investment in ports and freight infrastructure, as this article explains.

 
 
 
 
 

DIRECTORY

Government Department:

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (UK)

The UK's department with responsible for the energy system, as well as wider business regulation.

Government Department:

Department for Transport (UK)

The UK's department with responsible for transport, with an interest in renewable transport fuels such as those derived from biomass.

Government Department:

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (UK)

DEFRA is responsible for the agricultural sector, which could benefit from the UK growing more biomass domestically. Also covers air quality.

Academic organisation:

Biomass and Bioenergy Research Group, University of British Columbia (Canada)

UBC is an international centre of excellence in bioenergy research.

Government Agency:

Canadian Forest Service (Canada)

Canada is the world's largest 'wood basket', meaning it has the most abundant wood resource - carefully regulated by the Forest Service.

Biomass Company:

Drax Group (UK / USA)

Drax power station in North Yorkshire is Europe's largest single renewable energy generator, as well as owning biomass pellet facilities in the USA.

Biomass Company:

Enviva Biomass (USA)

Based in the Southern USA, Enviva is the largest supplier of wood pellets to the UK's power sector.

Biomass Company:

Eco2 (UK)

Eco2 is a renewable power and heat generating company with facilities around the UK that use unwanted straw from local farmers as fuel.

Government Agency:

Forestry Commission (UK)

The UK's Forestry Commission is responsible for protecting and managing publicly owner woodlands in the UK.

Government Agency:

MGT Teesside (UK)

MGT Teesside is a renewable energy facility in Teesside, relying on biomass pellets to produce power and heat.

Government Agency:

Lynemouth Power Station (UK)

Lynemouth Power Station in Northumberland was converted from coal to biomass and now has a power capacity of 390MW.

Trade Association:

National Farmers' Union (UK)

The NFU represents British farmers and is highly supportive of using sustainable biomass to diversify farmers' incomes and use land efficiently.

Academic organisation:

SUPERGEN Bioenergy Hub (UK)

SUPERGEN is a network of academics looking at different technology challenges. Its Bioenergy Hub members are specialists in bioenergy use.

Academic organisation:

UK Energy Research Council (UK)

UKERC is a world-leading energy system research group, offering a gateway between the UK and the international research community.

Government agency:

USDA Forest Service (USA)

The US Department of Agriculture's Forest Service regulates the huge forest resources of the USA, much of which is privately owned.

Trade association:

Forest Landowners Association (USA)

Much of the USA's significant forest resources are privately owned. The FLA represents these landowners.

Trade Association:

Wood Pellet Association of Canada (Canada)

The WPAC represents the biomass suppliers based in Canada. Canada is one of the largest suppliers of biomass for UK power.

Trade Association:

Renewable Energy Association (UK)

The REA is Biomass UK's umbrella organisation and represents a wide range of renewable energy technologies.

Trade Association:

US Industrial Pellet Association (USA)

The USA is the largest source of the UK's wood pellet imports. USIPA represents the pellet suppliers.

Charity:

Science Media Centre (UK)

The Science Media Centre works with journalists and independent academic experts to ensure fair and accurate reporting of scientific issues.

Trade Association:

Bioenergy Europe (International)

Bioenergy Europe represents bioenergy interests throughout the EU, including the power, heat and transport sectors.