W4B (Bristol) Ltd have planning permission to build a 50 MegaWatt biofuel power station on the old Sevalco site at Avonmouth, which will burn 90,000 tonnes of palm oil in diesel engines every year. They will receive £40m/year of your money as subsidies to do this – two thirds of their income. This will produce far more greenhouse gases (GHGs) than burning carbon fuels – yet the whole point of the subsidies is to reduce GHGs. W4B claim their palm oil will be renewable. Opponents can prove there is no such thing as renewable palm-oil. To fuel the power-station W4B would need oil-palm plantations six times the size of the city. These are made by cutting down tropical rainforest in Indonesia, Malaysia, Colombia, West Africa, Honduras and Ecuador. This is an environmental catastrophe that causes almost a quarter of our global greenhouse gas emissions. Palm-oil destroys whole eco-systems and animals such as the orang-utan and Sumatran rhino. Tens of thousands of local people have their ancestral lands and their food-sources seized, usually without compensation, and frequently at the point of a gun. Communities have been massacred in Colombia to free their land for palm-oil plantations.
The W4B site has just been returned to The Bristol Port Company who plan to give them a lease. W4B will also be looking for investors. The current bubble in applications for biomass and biofuel plants is promoted by DECC to satisfy European Union targets by using heavy subsidies. Once the true carbon cost of these plants is accepted – as it soon will be – the subsidies will cease, and the income stream for the plants will dry up. They are bad investments.
For more info on the history of the W4B campaign go http://acseb.co.uk/campaigns/