Britain launches 66 million pound biomass scheme
LONDON - Britain launched a 66 million pound ($96.16 million) scheme this week to boost its biomass industry and the use of renewable energy.
\"Biomass projects up to now in the UK have been mainly small. This scheme, the first initiative of its kind, will stimulate this technology,\" Britain\'s Energy Minister Brian Wilson said in a statement.
The scheme will support the construction of up to six power stations to produce electricity from burning fast growing crops such as straw, willow and miscamphus, or elephant grass, a bamboo-type grass.
The project which is funded by the Department of Trade and Industry and a New Opportunities Fund will also provide capital grants to help fund up to 100 smaller heat and power plants.
The government hopes the biomass sector will also attract about 200 million pounds of private sector investments.
Biomass, which uses plant and animal matter to produce power, has been in the doldrums for the last couple of years, hit by high costs and a hiatus in government support for renewable energy.
A report last year to the government suggested that Britain should try and generate 20 percent of its electricity from green sources such as wind, solar and biomass power, by 2020.
The government\'s present target is 10 percent and in order to meet that goal, a \"renewables obligation\" was implemented on April 1, forcing electricity suppliers to buy at least three percent of their power from green sources this year.
Analysts expect wind and biomass to be the main winners under the renewables obligation as their technology is proven whereas the costs of solar power are still too high while the tide and and wave power technologies are in their infancy.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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