REA says Bioenergy, carbon storage critical to UK carbon goal


The UK’s Renewable Energy Association (REA) says the country will have to use bioenergy in combination with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) technologies if it’s to reach the 2050 national net-zero emissions goal.

That’s according to their latest report which calls for policymakers and leading organisations to increase their support of BECCS technology, and ensure that it developed to its full potential in aiding the country’s decarbonisation drive.

BECCS technology generates energy by burning biomass, the carbon dioxide from which is captured and stored for use in other industries, or indefinitely, but preventing it from polluting the atmosphere.

The REA says BECCS technologies “negative emissions” will allow for harder-to-decarbonise sectors like heating and transport more time to transition to more sustainable levels.

The agency says BECCS technology could save up to 23 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, and has called for government to increase the total carbon price to £50 per tonne of carbon dioxide from 2020, thus increasing the cost of polluting, with the aim of shifting investment into low-carbon technologies.

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It has also urged for policymakers to support the technology in the country’s Contracts for Difference energy auctions, and to assist industry in developing low-carbon feedstock trial projects.

Samuel Stevenson, Policy Analyst at the REA and Report Author said: “Negative emissions technologies like BECCS will be needed in order to address the projected 90-130 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year of ‘residual’ emissions in 2050 from difficult to decarbonise sectors such as agriculture, aviation and industry. It is estimated that BECCS could contribute between 24–51 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year towards this residual total by 2050. “However, if the UK wants to deploy BECCS and capitalise on its negative emissions, urgent action is required. Existing policy could be adapted to support BECCS, such as an increased, economy-wide carbon price, a mechanism which properly rewards negative emissions and enabling BECCS projects to bid for a CfD.”