Government offers £10m-£15m grant for biomass boilers and announces new biomass energy centre.

Government ministers have announced a package of measures to boost the biomass industry, a source of renewable energy.

The initiatives include a £10m-£15m capital grant scheme for biomass boilers and the establishment of a new biomass energy centre.

Launched by the DTI and DEFRA, the Biomass Action Plan report is the government's response to the Biomass Task Force, which submitted 42 recommendations in October 2005.

Minister for Energy Malcolm Wicks said the measures would be added to those already in place. He said the plans would supplement initiatives such as the DTI's Low Carbon Building programme and the bioenergy capital grants scheme.

The main plans are:

  • A new five year capital grant scheme for biomass boilers, with funding of £10 - £15 million over the first two years and a second round of the Bio-energy Infrastructure Scheme, with funding at, or close to the level, proposed by the task forceAgreement in principle to support for energy crops under the new Rural Development Programme for England to be introduced in 2007, closely integrated with bioenergy market development
  • Announcement of the Forestry Commission's new Biomass Energy Centre as a major new hub for bioenergy advice and best practice for industry and the public
  • Further measures to integrate environmental assessment in the planning of energy crop development
  • Government leadership through public procurement, including the commitment to map the potential use of biomass across the main procuring departments of the Government estate
  • Use of the planning system to stimulate renewables development, including our support for planning authorities applying a minimum percentage of renewable energy in new developments
  • Support for the EU Biomass Action Plan and agreement on UK membership of the Global Bioenergy Partnership from its launch in May 2006.