A major new book called ‘The Sleeping Giant Awakens – Bioenergy in the UK ’ was published on the 25th September. The 409 page book sets out a realistic path for achieving 15-20% bio-energy contribution by 2030-40 and covers the heat, power and transport sectors. It seeks to answer questions such as ‘Do we have enough fuel?’ and does using bio-energy really save carbon? The book has 30 real world Case Studies including one on Crops for Energy and 34 Top Tips for using bio-energy.
The author is Stewart Boyle was previously a green activist and journalist who is now a respected bio-energy consultant and woodland owner.
Boyle argues for:
- Allowing ‘first generation’ biofuels investments to mature to encourage new investment in non-food crop ‘second generation’ fuels over the next 10-20 years
- Encouraging hybrid vehicles using blended biofuels as a key transition strategy for transport
- Supporting biofuels for airlines, HGVs and the defence sector through targets and research
- Supporting wood co-firing in power plant such as Drax as a key transition route to pure biopower and, CHP plant, and critical Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) to retire CO2 emissions
- Making the production of biomethane (‘green gas’) a higher priority than shale gas strategy
- Setting a challenging but pragmatic target to increase UK forest cover from 13% to 20%
Boyle ‘s view is that:
”Bio-energy is an exciting, pragmatic and affordable low-carbon solution for
the UK. It offers viable 24-7 heat, power and transport solutions and can plug in to the existing
infrastructure. It suffers from a lack of awareness and understanding, confused political support, and
has been unfairly criticised by vested interests in the paper board sector, aided and abetted by green
He sets out a strong critique of the current NGO stance on bio-energy:
“having reviewed the science and the arguments, I feel that some of the NGOs have lost the plot on bio-energy and are using really bad science without thinking through their long term energy strategy.”
Advance previews have brought a great deal of praise from both within and outside the industry. For instance, Jonathan Scurlock, Chief Adviser on Renewable Energy, National Farmers Union (NFU) describes it as a:
“timely, accessible and ultimately hopeful book, suitable for bioenergy novices and old hands alike. Stewart Boyle has a unique perspective – with his extensive background in green campaigning as well as substantial experience with biomass heating and fuel supply, he is well-placed to cast a critical eye over the entire UK bioenergy sector.”
You can buy hard copies for £9.99 or e-books for £7.99 from the One Planet Media website.