13 January 2009

Egger 50 MW Power Plant???

The, as ever, excellent They Work For You site has revealed two interesting written questions from Peter Atkinson (Hexham, conservative); both to Mike O'Brien (Minister of State, Department for Energy and Climate Change; North Warwickshire, Labour) on 12th Jan 2009.
  • To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how his Department plans to assess the sustainability of large-scale wood biomass energy plants of 50 megawatts and over; and if he will take into account that assessment in the potential impact on UK wood processing industries of large biomass plants purchasing their feedstock from UK wood markets.

  • To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether (a) the effect on existing wood industries and (b) the sustainability of material is taken into account in deciding whether to grant planning permission for large-scale biomass energy projects of 50 megawatts and over.

One of the industrial concerns in Peter Atkinson's constituency is Egger UK: from their website, "[w]e are one of Europe's leading wood based panel producers. Our product portfolio ranges from decorative products, such as Melamine Faced Chipboard, Decorative MDF, Laminate and Edging, to construction products, such as Chipboard and OSB."

The website also talks about, "Biomass Energy

The new energy plant which has been built as part of the new development has the objective of reducing EGGER’s fossil fuel use. As a major user of fossil fuels this has both economic and environmental benefits. EGGER use the waste-wood produced from their processes, such as dust, and burn it to create energy for the manufacturing processes as well as providing energy for two office blocks. This has reduced the company’s dependence on gas and electricity to less than 30%.
"

All this sounds excellent until you realise how the renewable energy market in the UK works.

Essentially, everyone who buys electricity in the UK will subsidize Egger if they can sell renewable energy into the grid. Not only will the subsidy come from the price of electricity sold into the grid but by selling Renewable Obligation Certificates.

Of which, more in a later post.

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