Rising and falling with the tides of the Humber Estuary, two giant mechanical arms work non-stop to empty the red cargo ships that have sailed across the Atlantic and through the North Sea to Immingham. Wood chips from the forests of Louisiana and Mississippi are unloaded at 2,300 tons per hour to be whisked by train to Drax power station in Selby, and burned to create electricity for millions of homes. At a time when the Government wants to plant millions of trees each year to suck carbon out of the atmosphere and is banning the use of wet wood in stoves, burning wood to power homes feels more counter-intuitive than ever. Yet the use of low-carbon bio-energy –such as crops for vehicle fuel or wood chips for boilers – has been growing in a shift from fossil fuels. The Renewable Energy Association says bio-energy accounts for 7.4pc of the UK’s energy consumption. The popularity of such fuels is likely to grow in the race to hit the government’s binding target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Bio-energy is particularly attractive given its alluring prospect of generating “negative” carbon emissions, as policy makers look for ways to hit Paris climate agreement targets. In the UK, that prospect might get a boost in next week’s Budget. “We are going to have to use all the low-carbon technologies available,” says Simon Virley, KPMG head of energy.
Telegraph 2nd March 2020 read more »