UK in ‘race against time’ to meet renewable energy targets

The UK is 'light years' behind Europe in the race to meet renewable energy targets, it has been claimed.

Biomass expert Dr Sacha Oberweis believes there is much to be learnt from the likes of Germany and the Netherlands, and as such is leading a £6million European funded project to accelerate the development and use of biomass fuel in North West Europe.

"We are light years behind countries such as Germany and the Netherlands," Dr Oberweird observed. "We rely on imported energy sources and there is a clear potential for the use of biomass and sustainable alternatives.

"Innovative pilot projects will help both the implementation of biomass as a viable energy source and to meet the goals set by the National Renewable Energy Action Plans for renewable energy by 2020."

Under this action plan, 20% of all Europe's energy consumption must be from a renewable source - in the UK this means an increase from 2.9% (2010) to 14.2% by 2020.

The ARBOR project has so far supported the establishment of a European Centre of Excellence for Biomass Trigeneration based at Staffordshire University, which will look to implement innovative approaches from across Europe to help combat this deficit.

Oberweis commented: "This centre will be a major step forward by the UK in bringing a closer focus on the role of biomass as a key source of renewable energy.

"The belief that biomass energy would lead to deforestation of woodlands and energy crops replacing food crops is wrong, this centre will highlight to policy makers and the wider public what is possible from using only waste green material."

A feasibility study is also being undertaken to determine the most suitable site for a biomass wood combustion boiler in Stoke on Trent.

A free event is being held on March 28 to show businesses how they can benefit from working with Staffordshire University. For more information, visit http://www.staffs.ac.uk/events/si2/.

Author
Laura Hopperton

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