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[Alert for UK residents only]
The UK Government (DECC) is expected to announce their decision about future subsidies (Renewable Obligation Certificates or ROCs) during June.
A public consultation about the subsidies closed in January. At the start of the consultation, DECC proposed not only to guarantee long-term subsidies for biomass electricity but to further increase them, specifically for very high rates of co-firing in coal power stations. In expectation of long-term subsidies, energy companies have announced plans (many of them already approved by planners) which, altogether, would require eight times as much wood to be burned for electricity every year as the UK produces annually. This will mean more deforestation and thus climate change and more land-grabbing for tree plantations in the global South.
Furthermore, DECC proposed subsidise biofuel burning for electricity long-term. In practice, this is likely to mean palm oil burning. Although the amount of biofuels burnt in power stations to receive subsidies would be capped, that cap would still translate into 110,000 hectares of new oil palm plantations (even more if other types of vegetable oil were also burned).
Although the consultation is closed, there is still time to ask your MP to contact Ed Davey (Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change) and Charles Hendry (Energy Minister) and ask them to ensure that electricity from biofuels and biomass will not be eligible for Renewable Obligation Certificates in future.
For background information and a pro-forma letter to send to your MP, please go to http://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/2011/rocs-alerts/ . Personalised letters or, if possible, a personal visit to the MP's surgery will likely have the biggest impact. Many thanks - and thanks to everybody who has helped with the campaign against those biofuel and biomass subsidies so far.