英國為國際生質能主要消費國，根據Hawkins Wright及The Carbon Brief報告，英國為木顆粒最大進口國，也是推動木顆粒需求成長之主要動力。下表為2015年全球木顆粒進口概況，顯示英國為全球最大木顆粒進口國，其進口總額達6,518,88萬公斤。
(資料來源：原始資料為英國國際貿易局，表格來自Global Trade Atlas)
首先，英國為再生能源訂定其財務框架－差價合約（Contracts for Difference，CfDs），此為再生能源發電之固定價格保證收購電價，英國認為這項方案可為個人與企業帶來利益。
早期英國採用再生能源責任認證（Renewable Obligation Certificate， ROCs），任何屬於再生能源之發電項目均包含在ROC中，但自2017年5月起，ROC已不再接受新計畫申請，並且正式被CfD所取代，往後新計畫須由再生能源電廠業者投標，參與競價拍賣，若業者之發電市場售價高於履約價格（strike price），業者則支付履約價格與售價間之差額。
3. 預計2020年調整後整體能源消費量－136,700 ktoe
4. 根據2020年目標（BXC），預計2020年再生能源消費量－20,505 ktoe
Biomass in the UK
The UK is a major international player when it comes to biomass. According to Hawkins Wright and The Carbon Brief, the UK is the largest wood pellet importer and one of the main driver increasing the demand for wood pellets. The table of the following represents global import of wood pellets in 2015, the UK leads the importation with a consequential 6,518,880,000 kg total.
(Source: International Trade Administration; table by Global Trade Atlas)
Biomass policy in the UK
To understand UK’s international role in biomass, we need to understand policies that drove this trend. As part of its EU obligations, the United Kingdom must obtain 15% of its final gross energy consumption from renewable energy sources by 2020, more than four times the share in 2010 (UK ENERGY POLICY, IEA paper). In its national biomass action plan devised in 2009, the UK laid out a framework for action regarding renewables, this included three key parts:
- Financial support for renewables;
- Unlocking barriers to delivery; and
- Developing emerging technologies
Those three components include subsidy schemes applied across the UK.
Firstly, the UK created a financial framework – Contracts for Difference (CfDs) – this is a fixed price that generators of renewable energy are guaranteed per unit of electricity. The UK saw this scheme as a multi-layered beneficial system that would profit individuals and businesses.
This also included, a system of feed-in-tariffs in electricity to incentivizes people and companies to use renewables. Community-owned renewable energy schemes where local people would take advantage of the power they were generating. Additionally, the creation of a space for individuals to invest in the green economy which would support the infrastructure of renewables.
Alongside, there’s been the creation of renewables obligation certificates (ROCs). Any electricity generating project that falls under renewable automatically qualifies for ROCs. However, as of May 2017 this green certificate scheme was closed to new applicants and was replaced by CfD. The new scheme works by renewable power plant operators biding for contracts and then they are paid the difference between the ‘strike price’ and the average electricity market price.
Secondly, the UK aimed to create a smarter grid which would participate in the increased efficiency both for networks and distributed generation.
Lastly, there was a push for the development of offshore wind technology and the development of an offshore electricity grid to support the technology.
Along with the three components, national renewable energy targets were created:
- Share of energy from renewable sources in gross financial consumption of energy in 2005 – 3%
- Target of energy from renewable sources in gross final consumption of energy in 2020 – 15%
- Expected total adjusted energy consumption in 2020 – 136,700 ktoe
- Expected amount of energy from renewable sources corresponding to 2020 target (BXC) – 20,505 ktoe
Following those targets, the UK created a set of policies and measures to promote the use of energy from renewables. Below are three of the measures in relation to biomass:
Table 1 Selected bioenergy policies and measures to promote use of renewable resources
(Source: UK National Action Plan)
It’s evident from the UK biomass action plan that they have taken the steps to encourage private investment in energy infrastructure by the creation of financial frameworks that has developed markets. Perhaps the Woodfuel Implementation Plan and Woodfuel Strategy is one of the most important measure given the standing of wood pellets within the biomass sector in the UK.
- National Renewable Energy Action Plan for the United Kingdom (Article 4 of the Renewable Energy Directive 2009/28/EC), available at: here
- International Energy Agency – Energy Policies of IEA countries: United Kingdom Review 2012, available at: here
- Global Trade Information Services (2005). Global Trade Atlas