21 March 1997

Big booster for energy crops in latest NFFO…

By Robert Harris and

Charles Abel

ENERGY crops have received a boost in the latest Non-Fossil Fuel Obligation Order. Seven projects will supply 67.4mW, 8% of the total generating capacity expected from the fourth NFFO round.

That is over three times that so far approved under previous NFFO rounds, says Jim Birse of trade organisation British Biogen.

Although forestry waste will be the initial fuel, there will not be enough to supply all the power stations needs. It is more likely to be used as a top-up fuel, says Mr Birse. He expects the new projects will need about 16850ha (4160 acres) of short rotation coppice.

The relatively high cost of coppice fuel has not helped its cause, he admits. The biomass generation price was 5.51p/KW hr, well above the average of 3.46p/kW hr for the 195 successful renewable projects.

OFFER, the electricity watchdog, had recommended that the cheapest supplies should be favoured. However, British Biogens lobbying persuaded government of biomass potential, and its environmental credibility. As a result, biomass scooped 27% of the subsidies available, he says.

&#8226 Other NFFOwinners include six projects using anaerobic digestion from farm slurries and 65 from wind power.


PROJECT DETAILS


&#8226 Seven woodburning projects.

– Consett, Durham, 10MW, Hexham, Northumberland, 10MW, Thornton-Le-Dale, N. Yorks, 6mW (All Northern Electric Generation); Falstone, Northumberland, 6mW (EcoGen); Carlisle, Cumbria, 20mW (Incetec); Brecon, Powys, 0.25mW (West Wales Energy); Newbridge on Wye, 15mW (Emisary).

&#8226 Sites – The north and Wales.

&#8226 Total generating power 67.4mW.

&#8226 Forestry waste initial fuel; arable coppice later.