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Scottish minister urges UK to rethink biomass plants

Scottish energy minister Fergus Ewing has called on the UK government to abandon subsidies for large scale woody biomass in plants which only produce electricity.

Ewing is expected to urge his UK counterpart energy minister Charles Hendry to follow Scotland’s lead in abandoning the subsidy, in a meeting tomorrow.

The Scottish Government has said it will abandon the subsidy of large-scale woody schemes because it is inefficient and demands more wood than the UK can produce. Pursuing these schemes would cause biomass materials prices to rise, pricing out traditional wood industries such as sawmills, wood panel mills, furniture manufacturers and construction, the government said.

The UK government’s ambitions for large scale biomass electricity will require about 37M.t to 67M.t of biomass by 2020 — significantly less than the 12M.t available domestically between 2017 and 2021 according to Forestry Commission estimates.

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