Sustainability Data Analysis

Where energy sustainability policy is concerned, setting the regulations can be a headache for all those involved. The criteria must be stringent enough to ensure tangible environmental protection while ensuring development is not stifled. Ensuring effective target-setting requires input both from the regulating authority Ofgem and from the generators themselves. NNFCC have a proven track record as an independent arbiter between the two, but we also act as a conduit for the wealth of sustainability data that ends up being reported to Ofgem – we make sense of it to provide the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) with an overview of the types and origins of feedstocks being used.

As part of Ofgem’s Renewable Obligation (RO) scheme, all biomass-powered generators of over 1MW capacity must report a wealth of information to Ofgem regarding their feedstocks. This includes data relating to land use, but also greenhouse gas emissions. This enables plants to demonstrate that they meet the sustainability criteria required for receipt of RO Certificates. All of the resulting raw data is collated by Ofgem but it is difficult to interpret without a deep understanding of feedstocks and associated sustainability requirements.

NNFCC comb through the data on behalf of BEIS, providing summary statistics on tonnages of feedstock used, their origins, type and associated greenhouse gas (GHG) savings. NNFCC have also helped to collate information for the separate Woodfuel Survey completed by UK generators, looking at future biomass sourcing intentions. This provides BEIS with useful strategic insight on feedstock use in the UK Power sector and current trends in the UK in response to policies and guidance issued on sustainable biomass sourcing.  Analysis of the reported GHG emissions and associated savings against UK and EU grid emissions provides an indication of how effectively the UK could cope with tightening emissions standards for future plants, an important issue for international negotiations and in understanding the contribution that biomass could make to wider policy aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the UK.

This shows how NNFCC’s work can have a big effect on policy and allow for a much smoother development of the bioeconomy in the UK. NNFCC also provides consultation services for industry and project developers, providing policy advice and Carbon Calculators to assist in reporting to Ofgem.