BERR alters proposals to ‘band’ renewables obligation

Microrenewables are to receive increased support under the Renewables Obligation (RO) from April 2009, according to the Business Department (BERR).

Last year, BERR consulted on plans to ‘band’ the RO to make it more efficient and give emerging technologies more Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs) per megawatt hour (ENDS Report 389, pp 42-43 ).

The plans said microrenewables would receive the same level of support as larger projects of the same technology. This meant micro-wind turbines on onshore wind projects would each be eligible for 1 ROC/MWh.

But according to BERR’s response to the consultation,1 microrenewables will now receive 2 ROCs/MWh. The change was prompted by Ofgem, which said the original plan was too complex.

This support will be maintained after the first review of bands in 2013, BERR adds.

Several other changes to banding levels are made in the response:

  • Co-firing of biomass and burning of sewage gas: These will receive 0.5 ROCs/MWh, up from 0.25 ROCs, following a reassessment of their costs. But the 10% cap on the proportion of a company’s renewables obligation that can be met through biomass co-firing has been reintroduced.
  • Tidal barrages and lagoons: Projects up to 1 gigawatt will receive 2 ROCs/MWh instead of one. The size requirement is to exclude major schemes like the proposed Severn Barrage (ENDS Report 393, pp 12-13 ).
  • BERR’s response also addresses concerns that the banding proposals would prevent energy-from-waste (EfW) plants claiming support.

    Under the RO, such plants could only claim ROCs for the biodegradable fraction of waste they burn if they met the definition of "good quality" combined heat and power. This definition was recently revised meaning EfW plants would have to be 70% efficient (ENDS Report 394, p 11 ). BERR says plants will now only have to be 35% efficient to claim ROCs.

    BERR will assume 50% of waste is biodegradable from 2009 to 2013, 40% from 2013 to 2018 and 35% from 2018. It originally proposed to deem the level of biodegradable waste at 35% from 2009.

    Compared with the earlier proposals, the changes make virtually no difference to the proportion of electricity the UK is forecast to generate from renewables by 2015, reducing it by 0.1% to 13.4%. The government’s target for 2015 is 15%.

    BERR will consult on a Renewables Obligation Order later this year.

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