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ClientEarth Communications

23rd February 2017

State Aid
Fossil fuels
Clean energy

Billions in public money funds climate assault from biomass

A new report has revealed burning biomass is worse for the planet than burning coal, causing further outrage over the billions of pounds in taxpayers' money that prop up power stations like Drax.

Findings from Chatham House today show wood-burning emits even more carbon than energy production from coal. The UK relies on biomass as a “renewable” power source and spends enormous amounts in subsidy on plant conversions – a £1.3bn handout to Yorkshire’s Drax plant was approved just weeks ago, to convert another of its six units to biomass.

A further £0.5bn went to Drax through Renewables Obligation Certificates in 2016 alone. ROCs require ‘accredited renewable generating stations’ to produce a certain amount of energy each year.

ClientEarth CEO James Thornton said: “The UK is funnelling mammoth sums into burning wood pellets – but what are we really paying for? It’s not clean energy. Public money is being used to finance damaging infrastructure lock-in.

“The government needs to look forward – the UK should be managing demand through smart technologies, ramping up efficiency measures and investing decisively in truly renewable energy sources.

“Subsidising carbon-heavy energy production is totally illogical. It’s crippling our efforts to meet climate targets and it has to stop.”