today by energy minister Brian Wilson. The money will support the
establishment of up to six power stations to produce electricity from
burning fast growing crops such as straw, willow or miscamphus
The Bioenergy Capital Grants Scheme, jointly funded by DTI and New
Opportunities Fund, will support power generation and combined heat
and power projects using energy crops and other biomass. It is
expected to lever in approximately£200m of private sector
Speaking in Edinburgh today, Mr Wilson emphasised the potential
benefits to the rural economy of crops-for-energy.
'Biomass projects up to now in the UK have been mainly small. This
scheme, the first initiative of its kind, will stimulate this
'Rural communities have much to gain from the growth of this
industry, in terms of jobs and farm incomes. Harvesting and transport
will provide employment throughout the difficult winter months - when
most energy crops-management takes place.
'A key reason for DTI funding of this programme is to bring forward
advanced technologies - such as pyrolysis and gasification and to
develop supply chain networks.
'We have also recognised within the Renewables Obligation, the
supporting role co-fired power stations can play in helping to
develop biomass and energy crops, and in delivering renewable energy
capacity quickly and at relatively low cost. We have consulted widely
to ensure that the scheme meets the industry's needs and commercial
requirements as well as the government's policy objectives.
'At the same time, the government has already put in place support
for the establishment of energy crops through DEFRA's Energy Crop
Scheme, worth an additional£29m over the next 6 years.
'It is the role of government to ensure secure, diverse and
sustainable supplies of energy at competitive prices, now and in the
future. Renewable energy, from a range of sources, clearly
contributes to all three - security, sustainability and diversity.
'Together these schemes will help the growing number of
technologists, developers, investors and planners interested in this
ecologically-strong industry to establish a firm foothold in our
future energy markets. They serves a fundamental government goal - to
establish renewable energy as a key player in meeting the UK's future
1. Projects will be assessed for quality against published criteria.
The money will go towards the capital costs of new projects -
application packs and guidance notes are available from
2. The Renewables Obligation requires electricity suppliers to
provide a specified proportion of their electricity from renewable
sources. This became law on 1 April in England and Wales as did a
corresponding Order in Scotland. These two Orders are the single most
important measures by government to enable industry to meet the 10%
renewables electricity by 2010 target. Biomass and energy crops are
eligible renewable sources under the Obligation.
3. Other measures include an allocation of over #260m over 3 years
mainly for capital grants for early demonstration projects in
offshore wind, energy crops (see main text for details) and solar
photovoltaics and an enhanced R&D programme to help bring forward the
next generation of renewable energy technologies such as wave energy
and tidal stream.
4. Renewables electricity has also been exempted from the Climate
5. Regional planning strategies are currently being revised to
incorporate policy planning guidance on renewables (PPG 22).