A new groundbreaking report concludes that biomass energy generation is more expensive than sources of renewable energy such as wind and solar.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) commissioned the report, which was carried out by London-based energy consultancy, Vivid Economics. The study primarily looked at the most cost-effective ways the UK can replace coal with clean energy in order to generate new electricity capacity and meet climate change goals.
The report concluded that by 2020 the total cost of biomass will be more expensive than solar or wind energy when a range of costs are taken into account. These include the cost of guaranteeing reliability, the latest technology costs and the costs of the carbon emissions themselves.
The NRDC's Sasha Stashwick said biomass has so far been seen as a low-cost source of energy as the government subsidises the industry off the back of its classification as 'carbon neutral'. However, this classification is unlikely to continue in light of recent evidence showing that biomass energy generation is far from clean.
Ms Stashwick said: "According to the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change report, biomass sourced from whole trees and other large-diameter wood is a high-carbon fuel, increasing carbon emissions compared to coal and natural gas for decades – well beyond timeframes relevant for solving climate change."
She adds: "While the risks of biomass continue to grow, the costs of building low-carbon alternatives – in particular wind and solar energy – have fallen rapidly and are expected to continue to decline."