Dundee rejects biomass, for now

£325 million proposal to face public enquiry

FORTH Energy’s plan to build a £325 million biomass facility in Dundee has been derailed by the City Council, with a public inquiry set to delay the project at the very least and at a possible cost to the taxpayer of hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The snub has been justified on the basis of concerns about air quality and the size of the building. Concerns had previously come to light about the quantities of nitrogen dioxide the plant would release into the surrounding area. But there was reason to believe air quality fears might have been laid to rest by a study conducted by SEPA in 2011, which suggested the increase in NO2 levels would be less than 1%.
Plans for the plant, which was intended to support an electricity generating capacity of 100MW, were first announced by Forth Energy in 2009.
Director of city development Mike Galloway had called upon the council to support the Forth Energy plan, but an amendment by Labour councillor Richard McCready at the meeting on 25 June was supported by a margin of 20 to 6 voting against the proposals.
Speaking to the Evening Telegraph, Ken Guild, the leader of the SNP administration in Dundee said a lot of complicated figures had been quoted at the meeting, and that some of the objectors had “muddied the waters” and made misleading claims, in his view. The high profile snub prompts fears that the city’s bid to attract renewables jobs could take a hit. Guild was eager to convey the message that Dundee is open for business, irrespective of the council’s vote on this matter. Environmental activists hailed the result as a victory.

Bioenergy efficiency report
Bioenergy should be produced in line with EU objectives to use resources more efficiently, says a new report. This means reducing the land and other resources needed to produce each unit of bioenergy and avoiding environmental harm from bioenergy production.
According to the report ‘EU bioenergy from a resource efficiency perspective’, the most efficient energy use of biomass is for heating and electricity as well as advanced biofuels, also called ‘second generation’ biofuels. First generation transport biofuels, for example, biodiesel based on oilseed rape or ethanol from wheat, are shown to be a far less efficient use of resources.
The report says the current energy crop mix is not favourable to the environment, and recommends a broader mix of crops to reduce environmental impacts. This should include perennial crops.