Biomethane growth has been significant in 2016 after an initial slow start following the introduction of the Renewables Heat Incentive in 2011 that served to galvanise the market. In the last two years this has recently led to a surge in gas to grid.
According to REA information based on 2015 figures and plants planned in 2016 that now appear to have been completed, in the UK there are now some 65 projects that are operational. The consequences of this in real terms are outstanding, approximately 3.5 TWh/year of energy has been from the generation of green gas. That is around 240,000 tonnes of LNG that will not require importing from the Middle East. Overall, gas use has increased in the UK in 2015 and 2016 proportionally greater than electricity for residential use (see link). Growth in sustainable ‘green gas’ is in accordance with rising residential gas demand and green gas could not come at a better time.
DECC went on record stating, “Biomethane-to-Grid is a key renewable technology that has the potential to make a significant contribution to the UK’s 2020 renewable energy commitments”. Long may this support continue with BEIS.
Waste to energy is unquestionably renewable and the use of products or residues should not be considered otherwise provided the RHI sustainability criteria are met. The simple fact is that importing LNG from other countries is not secure. Many Operator’s have not shied away from crop residues or local whole crops and have still managed to ensure their feedstocks are eligible to receive RHI payments. Risks to Operators are reductions in the greenhouse gas threshold which will be scaled down in future.
The eligibility of feedstocks used in claiming the RHI are verified as part of the Ofgem Sustainability Audit. This must be performed in accordance with ISAE 3000 (Revised) and has to be conducted by an independent party. Though wastes are exempt from the sustainability criteria, this fact does require verifying within the Ofgem Sustainability Audit in addition to other aspects. The audit period covers the previous years RHI submissions since the accreditation date and the Sustainability Report is required to be submitted within three months of the annual accreditation date.
Contact EnviroSense should you wish to discuss the Ofgem Sustainability Audit.
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