The recent Scottish Government announcement on plans to deliver renewable heat to public sector buildings is further evidence that biomass is key to the country’s future energy mix.
The biomass energy supply framework essentially creates a vehicle to deliver biomass wood fuel solutions to Scottish public and third sector organisations. It is designed to maximise the benefits of the UK-wide renewable heat incentive (RHI). Any public sector building is eligible to take advantage of this, but those buildings where more than £10,000 a year is spent on heating will benefit most.
By directly appointing companies to supply and service biomass boilers, the government is showing its support and commitment to this sustainable heat source that delivers significant environmental and economic benefits.
The new framework will offer a centralised service provision, with a single point of accountability guaranteeing improved performance and a sustainable, environmentally- friendly heat source for the public sector for years to come.
This gives many public sector bodies, charities and third sector organisations the opportunity to save money by choosing biomass heat with minimal effort or risk. Biomass can help reduce heating costs by up to 50 per cent, potentially reduce associated CO2 emissions to zero and deliver an attractive return on investment.
Large areas of rural Scotland are not connected to the gas network, meaning many individuals and organisations still rely on expensive oil for heat. By opting for biomass, people can burn a fuel that is significantly lower in cost and delivers energy efficiencies of more than 90 per cent.
While the benefits of biomass heating are biggest when oil is being displaced, there is also a compelling case for converting buildings heated by gas to biomass.
There is an economic, environmental and energy security argument for biomass. Organisations can see a return on their investment through the RHI or a completely financed approach through an energy supply contract. The case for biomass has never been stronger.
• Bruno Berardelli is managing director of Scotland’s longest established biomass heating specialist, HWEnergy