The UK Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) has unveiled new rules for the biomass industry to ensure sustainability of wood-fuel used to create energy.
Starting April 2015, companies generating energy power through biomass must show that their fuel is sustainable, or else they could see their financial support withheld.
According to the new rule, biomass generators will have to meet greenhouse gas reductions up to 72% by 2020, compared to that of European fossil fuel-fired plants, and a similar 75% by 2025.
The rule is applicable to biomass or biogas generators with a production capacity of 1MW or more, while this would cover around 98% of all biomass power generation in the country.
New rules also include sustainable forest harvesting rates, biodiversity protection and land use rights for indigenous populations.
UK Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change Greg Barker said the coalition is committed to deliver clean, affordable and secure energy for consumers.
"The new criteria will provide the necessary investor certainty and, crucially, ensure that the biomass is delivered in a transparent and sustainable way," Barker said.
In addition to this, a new requirement has also been introduced for 1MW capacity and above producers to provide an independent sustainability audit with their annual sustainability reports.
The latest initiative is expected to rope in transitional biomass technologies, such as coal to biomass conversions, which are the quickest and most cost-effective ways to help decarbonise the electricity supply.
Giving assurance to investors and developers, the government said there will be no further changes to the criteria before April 2027.
Image: Biomass industry has to show that fuel is sustainable. Photo: courtesy of DECC.