The Government has decided not to limit Renewable Obligation support for AD facilities to the minority that would generated more than 5 MW as had been proposed.

To quote the DECC press release:

Businesses will still be able to get support for small scale renewable technologies under the Government’s Renewables Obligation (RO), Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker confirmed today.

Government had suggested looking at excluding new small scale solar, anaerobic digestion, onshore wind and hydro power installations of between 50kW and 5MW from the RO from 1 April 2013 as part of its review of support for renewable electricity between 2013-17 published in July this year. This would have meant that the RO would support renewables over 5MW, with Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) being aimed at those who invest in solar, small scale wind, anaerobic digestion and hydro power projects under 5MW in size.

Following feedback from industry in recent months, DECC has decided to keep the option of both FITs and RO open for those investing in projects between 50kW and 5MW in size.

In response, Chief Executive of the Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association Charlotte Morton commented:

ADBA strongly welcomes this announcement, which will give confidence to anaerobic digestion plants which rely on the RO either as their primary support mechanism or as back up to progress.

This sensible decision recognises the huge value which AD can generate for the UK with the right support: tackling climate change, providing economic growth and supporting up to 35,000 jobs.

We are very pleased with the speed at which DECC has responded to industry concerns, and ministers’ recognition of the need for certainty to ensure investment in technologies such as AD.

Support for anaerobic digestion is helpful for those working towards a United Kingdom without incineration because separately collecting food waste and sending it to AD is a viable alternative to using that material as incinerator feedstock.

According to Paragraphs 196 and 204 of Defra’s 2011 Waste Review document: “Our evidence base shows that of the main options for the treatment of food waste, anaerobic digestion offers the greatest environmental benefit… To be treated by anaerobic digestion, it is best if food waste is collected separately at source… It is important to treat food waste as high up the hierarchy as possible.”

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