The Sleeping Giant Awakens – Bioenergy in the UK

StewartDIGITALFront-lower-res-211x300A 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:

Stewart Boyle (Picture courtesy of David Vickers

Stewart Boyle (Picture courtesy of David Vickers

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
NGO groups.”

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.