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National Grid Pumps Biogas

Posted in Renewables,UK by Cheryl Morgan on the February 2nd, 2009

In the UK news today is a report by Ernst & Young commissioned by National Grid. The report extols the virtues of biogas (gas created by decomposition of landfill waste) as a solution to the country’s energy troubles. Janine Freeman, head of National Grid’s Sustainable Gas Group, said:

Biogas has benefits on so many fronts. It is renewable and could help to meet the target of 15% of all our energy coming from renewable sources by 2020. It provides a solution for what to do with our waste with the decline in landfill capacity and it would help the UK with a secure supply of gas as North Sea sources run down

As a company with a gas distribution business, National Grid is obviously keen to push solutions that use its own networks, but the company does have a point that the infrastructure to support development of biogas use is largely in place.

Environmentalists are, of course, speaking out against the report. Any form of renewable energy that involves making use of landfill waste rather than stopping creating it in the first place always provokes their ire. Also other people in the renewables business are upset at National Grid apparently trying to hijack the agenda.

However, the main issue will remain planning permission. It is extremely difficult to get permission to do any energy-related development in the UK, so any solution that requires a large number of small installations is pretty much doomed to failure. That is why Gordon Brown is much more interested in huge projects such as new nuclear power stations and the Severn Barrage.

Press coverage of the story is available from the Telegraph and the BBC. The full report is available here.

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