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Energy: Renewables

Volume 713: debated on Wednesday 21 October 2009

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 15 June (WA 173) regarding the National Grid report The Potential for Renewable Gas in the United Kingdom, which officials are continuing to work with National Grid to refine their analysis; and how the analysis is being refined. [HL5477]

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 15 June (WA 173) regarding the National Grid report The Potential for Renewable Gas in the United Kingdom, whether the work on refining the analysis is required because National Grid or Ernst and Young have made an error; and, if so, what is the nature of that error. [HL5478]

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 15 June (WA 173) regarding the National Grid report The Potential for Renewable Gas in the United Kingdom, whether the work with National Grid will involve the Institution of Mechanical Engineers following their production of a series of papers on the treatment of waste. [HL5479]

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 15 June (WA 173) regarding the National Grid report The Potential for Renewable Gas in the United Kingdom, whether they are querying the report in respect of (a) the figures on potential gas production, (b) the estimated capital expenditure requirement, (c) the estimated capital expenditure required at the margin, or (d) technical factors affecting either the production or the delivery of renewable gas. [HL5480]

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 15 June (WA 173) regarding the National Grid report The Potential for Renewable Gas in the United Kingdom, whether they will not support any of the four recommendations made by National Grid; and, if so, which ones. [HL5481]

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 15 June (WA 173) regarding the National Grid report The Potential for Renewable Gas in the United Kingdom, what is their assessment of National Grid's suggestion that a decision on the nationwide production of renewable gas from waste and its distribution through the gas network should be expedited to ensure that any investment by local authorities in large-scale waste incineration plants is not unnecessary. [HL5482]

We welcome National Grid's report, and will consider its recommendations as part of the wider work on renewable gas. A number of officials from DECC and Defra have been in contact with National Grid over the past few months regarding the report. As noted in the renewable energy strategy, our analysis indicates that the technical potential of biogas generation for heat and power is about 10-20 TWh or more. Recent work increased that assessment of technical potential of biogas production from anaerobic digestion to 27TWh. These estimates do not include an assessment of the potential contribution of gasification technology, given the uncertainties surrounding when this technology will become commercially available. We have encouraged National Grid to input comments into the latest analysis published alongside the RES to help us to revise and improve our data. National Grid, with a number of other interested parties, also participated in the subsequent seminar to discuss this analysis. We will publish revisions to this analysis alongside the RHI consultation in December. However as this is an evolving area, we recognise the need to keep our analysis under review.

Defra is supporting the development of anaerobic digestion technology. As part of its on-going research and development programme, it is currently looking at the optimisation and impacts of expanding biogas production. This project is due to be completed next year. Defra is also providing around £10 million for the Anaerobic Digestion Demonstration Programme. A series of projects will demonstrate the state of the art use of anaerobic digestion to create renewable energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and avoid waste being sent to landfill. These include a collaborative project by National Grid and United Utilities to upgrade biogas to grid quality biomethane. This project will be the first large scale biomethane gas to grid injection system in the UK.