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The growing popularity of biomass as an alternative heating fuel for Scottish businesses is helping to develop a new economic sector that is bringing jobs and wealth to rural communities across the country.
A new report – published by Forestry Commission Scotland – shows that Scotland’s industrial and commercial sectors currently make use of 450,000 oven dried tonnes of woodfuel each year. (equivalent to around 900,000 green tonnes of wood)
This level of demand – which has increased by 300% in just four years and is set to increase by another 100% in 2009/10 – is making a substantial contribution to Scotland’s drive to cut emissions and help tackle climate change.
Environment Minister, Roseanna Cunningham said:
•“This phenomenal increase is down to the fact that more and more businesses across Scotland are recognising that – with significant cost savings to be made – switching to biomass makes sound economic sense.
•“And if that were not enough of an incentive, companies can also rely on being able to source supplies locally, which together with the move to biomass offers a major boost to their carbon rating.
•“There is a real sense that the business, biomass and forestry sectors are gathering momentum in the drive to develop biomass to its maximum potential.
•“This is driving the growth of the woodfuel and biomass production sectors and helping to create sustainable, green jobs in rural communities – and that is going to play a big part in Scotland reaching its emissions and renewable energy targets.”
Wood fuel projects currently operating in Scotland are estimated to save some 381,610 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually, a rise of 12% from the carbon saving (47,590 tonnes) in 2007-2008.
The Scottish Government’s renewable energy targets aim to see 50% of Scotland’s electricity consumption – and 11% of heat usage – generated from renewable sources by 2020.
Small-medium sized enterprises in Scotland that are thinking of installing a heat-only biomass boiler can apply to the £3.3 million Scottish Biomass Heat Scheme for grant assistance.
The SBHS is funded by the Scottish Government, Forestry Commission Scotland and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
For more information about the report visit www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/WoodFuelDemandUsageScotlandUpdate09.pdf/$FILE/WoodFuelDemandUsageScotlandUpdate09.pdf
For advice and assistance on the support available for a switch to biomass visit www.usewoodfuel.co.uk