February 24, 2024

Continuing subsidies for Drax will simply burn money for no gain – FLC’s response to the UK Government consultation

See FLC’s consultation response here.

See the UK Government’s Consultation here (details on how to respond are at page 4. Responses are due Feb. 29, 2024).

The UK Government is calling for comment on whether they should continue to provide billions in renewable energy subsidies to Drax and other wood-burning power plants in anticipation of those facilities ultimately deploying Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS).  The answer is unequivocally no. As the IPCC, scientists, and NGOs have repeatedly made clear, burning trees for energy is not carbon neutral, and adding CCS to biomass plants is not going to deliver “negative emissions.”  Allowing power plants like Drax to continue operating while policymakers catch up to this reality will just destroy more forests and pump more carbon pollution into the atmosphere.

But beyond those most obvious realities, the proposal to extend subsidies fails on every count.  The Government’s own modelling suggests that biomass energy will displace other renewable energy. Bioenergy is extremely expensive.  And it’s not even clear whether the UK is entitled under international carbon reporting protocols to claim ownership of geologically stored tree-carbon if it’s sourced from another country. Overall, providing transitional support is a high risk strategy and an enormous waste of money.

See FLC’s consultation response here.