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Biomass Delivers ‘Questionable Carbon Savings’, Says New Report

Jonny Bairstow, Energy Live News

Environmental thinktank Sandbag claims biomass does not allow ‘near-immediate carbon and cost reductions’

Image: Shutterstock

Governments should focus policy support on renewable energy sources such as wind and solar rather than on biomass, which delivers questionable carbon savings.

That’s the verdict from environmental thinktank Sandbag, which has published a new report calling for policymakers to support energy sources that allow near-immediate carbon and cost savings – it says biomass does not fall into this category.

The organisation claims potential savings from biomass are “perhaps not realised for many decades (if at all)” and “at a cost much higher than that of fossil fuels.”

It warns against coal-to-biomass conversions such as the one seen at the UK’s Drax facility – the report warns proposed EU coal-to-biomass projects could increase biomass consumption by 607 petajoules per year and see the volume of feedstock burner triple compared to current levels.

It says 36 million tonnes of wood pellets would be needed to supply this demand, with approximately 2,700 square kilometres of forest being cut down every year as a result – it suggests these projects would produce just 64TWh of electricity, less than 2% of the EU’s total electricity production.

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