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U.K. sets 'tough new criteria' for biomass industry

Aug. 23, 2013 at 8:03 AM

LONDON, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- Britain's biomass industry needs to show its fuel is sustainable by 2015 or it will lose financial support, the government said.

The government said it was introducing "tough new criteria" based on issues ranging from biodiversity to sustainable harvesting rates for the wood-based biomass fuels industry.

It said all generators of 1 megawatt or more using solid biomass, or about 98 percent of the industry in the country, need to meet the requirement by April 2015 or get cut off from federal support. The industry needs to cut its greenhouse emissions by 72 percent below a fossil-fuels benchmark by 2020 and 75 percent by 2025.

"The new criteria will provide the necessary investor certainty and, crucially, ensure that the biomass is delivered in a transparent and sustainable way," British Minister for Energy and Climate Change Greg Barker said in a statement Thursday.

Friends of Earth, Greenpeace and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds published a report last year saying the biomass industry may be worse than coal because of deforestation, transportation and other secondary issues.

Barker said most of the biomass industry will need to provide annual sustainability reports. He said biomass accounts for approximately 38 percent of the nation's renewable energy and makes a "significant" contribution to clean energy benchmarks.

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