Sunday’s Guardian: Biomass schemes will boost destructive timber imports, claims wood industry

The Guardian online

The Guardian (Sunday September 11, 2011)

Check out The Guardian on-line on Sunday September 11, 2011, which has finally run a story about the concerns of wood companies and green campaigners about subsidies to power companies that threaten both jobs and rainforests.

The article says that big wood companies are trying to halt Drax, RWE and others pressing ahead with a raft of lower-carbon energy schemes which would see large power stations switch from burning coal to timber.

The wood industry fears thousands of jobs in its factories will be threatened by the “green” power plans and wants government to remove the subsidies facilitating them.

Wildlife and environmental groups are also alarmed that the new biomass schemes could trigger a huge escalation in wood imports and threaten rainforests.

Check out the full story by Terry Macalister.

New book claims to expose the crippling cost of climate change policy

Let Them Eat Carbon

Let Them Eat Carbon

A new book – ‘Let them eat carbon’ from TaxPayers’ Alliance Director Matthew Sinclair – looks at the  record and cost of climate change policies, and the special interests that profit. 

It is said to provide new insights into the cost of major regulations driving up energy prices, particularly the Renewables Obligation and the EU Emissions Trading System.

In 2009-10 the Renewables Obligation cost over £1.1 billion, equivalent to an additional £40 a family (up from under £900 million in 2007-08). The figure includes the subsidies paid to the biomass industry to burn wood, which are funded by rises in energy prices and are said to directly threaten 2.4 million jobs across the UK’s and European wood associated industries.

Matthew Sinclair says: “Regulations that are supposed to cut greenhouse gas emissions are adding to energy bills, and making it much harder for a lot of people to make ends meet. At the same time manufacturers are finding it harder to compete and jobs are being lost as industrial capacity relocates to other countries not placing the same burden on industry. The only ones who benefit are a handful of big businesses that can make billions in profits at the expense of ordinary consumers. With the dismal failure of these policies, and the cost mounting, it is vital that we scrap them.”

You can read more about the book and Matthew’s views in the TPA’s press release.

Recycling companies keen to cash in on biomass energy boom slash gate fees

Biomass

burning recycled wood threatens UK jobs

A new report from the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), says that recycling companies are cutting their gate prices to attract waste wood from the construction sector to sell it on to the woody biomass industry.

Subsidies for generating electricity using biomass are distorting the domestic wood market.  Energy companies, supported by the Renewables Obligation (RO), are using their enhanced purchasing power to bid for the same recycled wood used by the wood panel industry.

The report also found there has been a significant increase in demand for waste wood to be used as fuel, with UK biomass facilities’ demand for recovered wood more than doubling between 2007 and 2010 to reach 0.55 million tonnes – nearly a quarter of total recovered wood demand!

WRAP has predicted gate fees will continue to fall in line with growth in the biomass market. A recent report from John Clegg Consulting suggests that demand for recovered wood from biomass plants could rise to more than four million tonnes by 2015, which is more than the UK’s entire supply of waste wood.

It is more evidence that if this situation does not change the future of the wood panel industry and wood-based manufacturing in Britain is threatened because they cannot compete in the same market as the energy companies, who are being subsidised to buy wood.

Read the full story at businessGreen

2.4 million jobs threatened by biomass subsidies

Biomass protests at Kronospan

Kronospan's workforce protest against biomass subsidies

Government subsidies paid to the biomass industry to burn wood threaten the livelihood of millions of people across the UK and Europe.

The subsidies are paid to the renewable energy industry despite the fact that wood working industries in Europe have a turnover in excess of €270 billion providing 2.4 million jobs. The industry creates 25 times more employment and 10 times more wealth creation than biomass energy generation, according to global analysts Pöyry.

The continuation of these subsidies risk UK jobs, including more than 600 workers at Kronospan’s wood production plant in Chirk near Wrexham, North Wales.

Gavin Adkins, director of Kronospan, says: “Paying subsidies to burn virgin timber rather than manufacture with it, damages wealth creation, the economy and the environment. It’s pushing up prices, creating a shortage in raw material and inevitably threatens millions of jobs.”

Kronospan UK is one of the top 10 manufacturing companies in Wales, employing more than 600 people, 90 per cent of whom live within 10 miles of its North Wales site. The loss of the Kronospan manufacturing plant to this North Wales village would be absolutely devastating.

In the UK, the Wood Panel Industries Federation has been lobbying hard with Government through its Make Wood Work campaign to reverse the consequences of the Renewables Obligation Order, which is a result of European Union Climate Change Directives. The Order places an obligation on licensed electricity suppliers in the UK to generate an increasing proportion of electricity from renewable sources.

The subsidies to the biomass industry have to be stopped or jobs will be lost.