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Draft Letter to Michael Fallon , Minister of State for Business and Energy in the Dept of Energy and Climate Change
Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP,
Minister of State for Business and Energy ,
Department of Energy & Climate Change ,
3 Whitehall Place ,
London SW1A 2AW
I want to express my concern that it makes no sense to destroy forests and burn trees to save greenhouse gases. The science proves the opposite. Following the scientific evidence (including that leaked from your own department) that biomass and bioliquid fuels (not reclaimed) are worse for greenhouse gas emissions than fossil fuels, I call on you to suspend ALL Treasury guarantees for investors in large-scale electricity generation from biomass and bioliquids. Also to stop further investment by the Green Investment Bank in these technologies.
Bristol is threatened by two power-stations planned for Avonmouth: Helius which will burn ‘biomass’ (almost certainly wood pellets or chips) and W4B which will burn palm-oil.
I am seriously concerned:
- That wood pellets to co-fire Drax are being sourced from clear-cut old-growth forests in Louisiana, Virginia and other North American sources.
- That if all proposed wood-fired power stations are built, they will require as fuel 7 times the entire UK wood production annually.
- That the 100 MW Helius Energy wood-fired power-station at Avonmouth requires 850,000 tonnes of fuel which cannot be sourced locally.
- That Avonmouth is already heavily polluted by wood dust, which is a WHO grade-1 carcinogen. Handling 850,000 tonnes of pellets or chips a year will cause a plume of this dust over the whole city of Bristol.
- That plantations are already being planted speculatively in Brazil – at the cost of natural ecosystems – to supply UK-led EU demand for wood pellet fuel.
- That industrial burning of palm-oil cannot be supplied from existing plantations, whose production is already committed, and thus requires new plantations.
- That the proposed Avonmouth 50 MW 4WB power-station will require 60,000 hectares of new palm-oil plantations (many times the area of Bristol).
- That all available sustainability palm-oil certification processes are highly suspect.
The government must re-direct funds earmarked for big bio-electricity towards curbing energy consumption, and to supporting genuinely sustainable renewable energy solutions such as wind, solar and tidal energy.
I wish to draw to your attention that Indonesia (alone) plans to increase its palm-oil plantations by an area four times the size of Wales by 2020 and that your policy is driving this deforestation as is your policy to promote biomass burning. The government’s former Chief Scientific Advisor, Sir John Beddington, has said, “Cutting down rainforest to produce biofuel crops is profoundly stupid.” Do you agree?
I look forward to your response.