Respected waste trade press publication MrW (Material Recycling Week, affectionately known as “Mr. Waste”) has reported how Labour MP for Sterling, Anne McGuire, called upon the Coalition Government to end support for electricity-only generation from wood.
McGuire chairs the all-party group for the wood panel Industry. At the recent House of Commons debate she criticised the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) for failing to consider the policy’s impact on the wood panel market.
The article quotes the MP as saying:
Despite the introduction of the RHI, the minister cannot deny that the current incentive regime still makes burning virgin timber for electricity an attractive proposition. The best way to end market distortion and to achieve the best environmental outcomes is to end support for electricity-only generation from wood, and to exclusively support quality combined heat and power, heat generation and energy from treated wood waste.
According to McGuire, the distortion comes from UK wood demand outstripping supply meaning the policy is in danger of driving up wood prices and diverting waste wood from recycling and re-use and into energy-from-waste facilities.
The core problem remains the unsustainable and flawed support for large-scale electricity from wood.
In response, energy minister Greg Barker said:
I am very aware of unintended or perverse consequences. We will work harder to look at the consequences for the wood panel industry. Many powerful arguments were made today, not least how it is better to lock up carbon rather than to burn it, and I am mindful of that.