Bioenergy is renewable energy made from biomass, which is organic material derived from plant or animal matter.
The Biomass Energy Centre provides further information about biomass.
The UK has a binding target under the European Commission’s Renewable Energy Directive to source 15% of its overall energy from renewable sources by 2020.
Bioenergy has the potential to provide about 30% of the 2020 target through:
- the recovery of energy from the biomass portion of waste (including anaerobic digestion)
The UK bioenergy strategy was published by the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC), the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for Transport (DfT) in 2012.
The strategy established a set of principles to guide UK bioenergy in a way that secures its benefits while managing risks.
Support for bioenergy generation
DECC supports the large-scale generation of biomass electricity through the Renewables Obligation.
It also supports small-scale generation from anaerobic digestion units through the Feed-in Tariffs scheme.
DECC supports large- and small-scale generation of biomass heat through the Renewable Heat Incentive.
Further support is available through Defra’s Rural Development Programme for England.
Support for the supply of biomass fuel
In England the Energy Crops Scheme provides grants for establishing short rotation coppice (a woody solid biomass) and miscanthus (perennial grasses that can be turned into biofuel) in appropriate locations. Natural England administers the scheme on behalf of Defra.
Economic benefits of bioenergy
We have published a report by the National Non-Food Crops Centre on UK jobs in the bioenergy sectors by 2020, which estimates the possible levels of UK employment in the biomass combustion (heat and power) and anaerobic digestion sectors by 2020.