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Redpoint Energy assists with Bioenergy Review by UK’s Committee on Climate Change

Redpoint Energy assists with Bioenergy Review by UK’s Committee on Climate Change

London, December 13th, 2011 – Redpoint Energy has played a key part in the Bioenergy Review conducted by the UK’s Committee on Climate Change (CCC).  A crucial part of the review assesses the most appropriate use of the scarce bioenergy resource over the pathway to 2050 across different sectors.  It concluded that a 10 per cent share of bioenergy in total energy could be required to meet the UK’s 2050 emissions target, compared to the current share of 2 per cent.  It also said that bioenergy would ideally be used for industrial heat and non-energy uses in construction, along with use in conjunction with Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology to allow for higher emissions reductions to be achieved.

With support from renewable energy consultancy Ecofys, Redpoint developed a sophisticated optimisation model to undertake the analysis. The model simulates a carbon-constrained world with scarce supplies of sustainable bioenergy, and helps identify the most efficient pathways within the overall UK energy system. Redpoint worked closely with CCC in developing and using the model, specifying technology availability and cost inputs, and ensuring that energy demand projections fully reflect all opportunities for cost-effective energy efficiency improvements.

“The Bioenergy Review examines the most appropriate use of a limited but critical resource, within the context of all other competing options across power generation, buildings, industry, aviation and surface transport,” said Oliver Rix, Director, Redpoint Energy.  “Although numerous studies have been conducted to date, they have tended to focus either on bioenergy use within an individual sector, or have looked at the energy system as a whole without sufficient detail of bioenergy to robustly understand all of the possible trade-offs. We have developed a single standardised model which harmonises the range of disparate information on bioenergy and competing fossil and low carbon alternatives, and which also includes lifecycle emissions for bioenergy and competing non-energy uses. The model has allowed the CCC to derive clear and robust conclusions that are valuable both in terms of short-term policy, particularly around the Renewable Energy Directive targets and how best to meet these, and long term planning for the UK’s energy system to 2050.”

The role of bioenergy in combating climate change is controversial because questions remain over the extent to which it results in emissions reductions when lifecycle impacts are accounted for. There are also significant tensions between the use of bioenergy and sustainability objectives around lifecycle emissions and other sustainability concerns relating to the use of land for growing food, protecting biodiversity and water resources.

Taking these concerns into account, the CCC’s Bioenergy Review assessed where bioenergy might best be used to support the UK in building a prosperous low-carbon economy. The findings will feed into the UK Government’s new bioenergy strategy. The CCC is an independent statutory body established under the Climate Change Act (2008) to advise UK and Devolved Administration Governments on preparing for climate change and setting and meeting carbon budgets.

Redpoint’s findings for the CCC will be released in a separate report in 2012 and will also contribute towards the Department for Energy and Climate Change’s bioenergy strategy in the new year.