Proposals set out in a new Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) consultation on the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) for anaerobic digestion (AD) will “kill off” AD projects, according to the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA).
The consultation looks at the generation tariffs for AD and micro-combined heat and power (mCHP) and sustainability criteria and feedstock restrictions for AD.
It proposes restrictions to plant sizes and feedstocks that, according to ADBA, will make it even harder to deploy viable AD plants using waste, crops or agricultural residues.
Responding to the consultation, ADBA’s chief executice, Charlotte Morton, said: “This consultation does nothing to address DECC’s fundamental lack of ambition for AD and community scale renewables.
“The government needs baseload electricity to ensure energy security, and technologies that reduce emissions from agriculture and waste to meet our carbon budgets. AD can deliver all of that, at scale, now – but only with the right support”
“Instead, it proposes restrictions to plant sizes and feedstocks that will make it even harder to deploy viable AD plants using waste, crops or agricultural residues. Removing support for new plants above 500kW is completely unjustified and will kill off projects which could otherwise have delivered DECC’s objectives while representing good value for money.
“The government needs baseload electricity to ensure energy security, and technologies that reduce emissions from agriculture and waste to meet our carbon budgets. AD can deliver all of that, at scale, now – but only with the right support.
“We will be working with our members to put together a strong response to this consultation, and making the wider case for supporting anaerobic digestion to cut carbon, deliver energy security and recycle critical nutrients.”
Ofgem figures – analysed by ADBA – recently revealed that the FiT available for new AD plants could be even more heavily restricted than first thought.
The new FIT scheme has quarterly “caps” on maximum deployment for each technology, which are set at 5MW for AD. An application for a plant that breaches the cap is counted towards the next quarter – but any capacity unused is simply lost.
This is despite the government’s consultation response saying that “any unused capacity for a particular technology and degression band from one quarter simply gets added on to the next quarter.”
Data released in February revealed that the “cap” on deployment of AD plants filled up 15 minutes after it opened.
ADBA also recently announced the establishment of its Competitiveness Task Force to establish the means to reduce the cost of producing energy generated from AD.
The AD industry outside of the water sector has grown by over 600% in the past five years, it says.