AD plant© Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association

The number of anaerobic digesters in the UK is being forecast to rise by up to 13% as the guaranteed price paid for energy generation is set to increase to its highest level since 2016.

Legislation set to make its way through Parliament on 22 May will pave the way for the restoration of tariffs of up to 5.6p for each kilowatt hour of renewable heat generated.

This is an increase of 2.3p on the current renewable heat tariff price for biomethane injection-type digesters that produce a flammable gas from breaking down organic wastes such as slurry or purpose-grown energy crops.

See also: Grants available for farm energy storage and distribution

The gas is then burned to produce renewable heat or to generate electricity, with nutrient-rich fertiliser also generated as a by-product.

There are currently 308 operational agricultural anaerobic digesters in the UK, and the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (Adba) is forecasting the price rise could tempt as many as 40 more units online in the next two years.

 

New plants that are eligible for the increased price will then be able to lock in that tariff level for 20 years.

The price rise has been on the agenda since early 2016, but the snap general election called by Theresa May severely delayed the passage of the law change required.

Charlotte Morton, chief executive of Adba, said: “AD is already reducing gas imports by 2% and has the potential to reduce them by as much as 16%.

“With emissions from heat accounting for one-third of all UK greenhouse gas emissions and no clear government strategy yet identified for decarbonising heat, it’s imperative that the government commits to long-term support for green gas beyond 2020.”