Welsh Government
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New bioenergy plan to lessen Wales’ reliance on fossil fuels

A new plan to lessen Wales’ reliance on fossil fuels and increase the use of renewable, low-carbon energy sources was today (Tues 24th Feb) published by Welsh Environment Minister Jane Davidson.

The Bioenergy Action Plan for Wales aims to generate at least 5 terawatt hours of electricity, about 20% of our current needs, from renewable biomass by 2020. It also aims to have biomass provide 2.5 terawatt hours of usable heat energy, about 3% of our current needs. This will result in a reduction of about 3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year in comparison with generation based on fossil fuels. It will also create new jobs.

Biomass is organic material that can be used to create renewable energy. This includes plants, trees and vegetations, as well as sewage and animal waste. Biomass is ‘carbon neutral’, in that the amount of carbon it absorbs while growing is the same as the amount it produces when burned. The Assembly Government wants to ensure that biomass is obtained from sustainable sources, whether these are in the UK or overseas, and take into account the carbon emissions associated with growing, harvesting, processing and treating it.

Ms Davidson said biomass had a key role to play in meeting our future energy needs:

Climate change is a reality we have to face and exploiting a mix of available energy resources is vital. Biomass has the potential to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, whilst at the same time cutting our carbon emissions.

Low carbon technologies that use biomass are recognised all over the world as an important element in our fight to limit climate change. For example, President Obama’s recently agreed economic stimulus package contains provisions for renewables. Biomass is an energy source the Welsh Assembly Government wants to see being used across Wales. It will bring economic as well as environmental benefits. We estimate that the increased use of bioenergy will create 1,000 direct jobs.

We will help both the public and private sectors increase their use of different technologies for the efficient generation of heat and electricity from biomass, and to increase the supply of biomass from Wales. The Assembly Government is practising what it preaches. Our new offices in Aberystwyth and Llandudno Junction will use biomass heating.

The Welsh Assembly Government is already investing in bioenergy with the recent announcement of £26 million of new funding for anaerobic digestion and the use of Strategic Capital Investment Funding for appropriate wood energy projects in schools and hospitals.

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