Biofuelwatch June Newsletter
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Dear subscriber, this is the July edition of our newsletter, with an important Letter to your MP, a new Biofuelwatch report, news of our campaigns and the campaigns we support.

In this newsletter:

  1. MP Alert - asking your MP to lobby ministers to end subsidies for Biomass electricity
  2. New Biofuelwatch report on Biomass Gasification and Pyrolysis - with startling revelations about GIB funding for this technology.
  3. Giant White Elephant delivers over 110,000 signatures against White Rose CCS power station at Drax.
  4. Banking on big biomass campaign: GIB Annual Review protest.
  5. SOS (Save our Southern) Forests tour in the US.
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1. MP Alert - asking your MP to lobby ministers to end subsidies for Biomass electricity

The new Conservative government has appointed a lot of new ministers who have never been lobbied on bioenergy issues. The best way to bring our campaigns to these ministers’ attention, is to get members of parliament to write to them with their constituents' concerns about the impacts of bioenergy.

So we are asking you, our supporters, to convince your MP to do this.. This is a great way to raise awareness of the issues, as many MP’s may not have heard about the impacts of bioenergy either. And if an MP gets more than one letter on an issue it really moves it up the agenda!

Do you want to get involved? Great! Please click here, read, and if you can, personalise, the letter and we will send it to your MP, asking them to join us in calling for an end to subsidies for biomass electricity.

We would also like to get questions asked in the House on a more regular basis so if you would be able to ask your MP to do that (we would supply the questions) please tick the box on the alert page.

If you or your MP would like more background information, please read our â€œUk Election 2015 Briefing”.  

3. Giant White Elephant delivers over 110,000 signatures against White Rose CCS power station at Drax.
On 18 June, White Rosie helped us deliver a petition to the Department of Energy and Climate Change signed by 113,708 people against public funds of up to £1bn being used to fund the proposed White Rose Carbon Capture and Storage coal power at Drax in Yorkshire.

The power station would be the first new coal power station in the UK since 1974. It would not have to capture any carbon for the first 3 years of operation and thereafter could meet its carbon targets by co-firing 50% biomass, a feedstock that Drax will be importing already to the tune of nearly 16m tonnes a year. This is a likely outcome since CCS is a very energy intensive and expensive technology.

Carbon capture using the 'oxyfuel' technology has already been abandoned as un-commercial by big players in the energy market and no other country is planning to invest at this level. Whether carbon is captured or not it ties us into burning coal and likely biomass for years to come. If £1bn were invested in energy saving it could remove permanently the need for the White Rose's generating capacity many times over.

See here for more information and Biofuelwatch's full briefing here

5. SOS (Save our Southern) Forests tour in the US.

Over two weeks, Dogwood Alliance traveled 2,200 miles through 8 states, held 10 community events in 6 different cities, and, with the help of 37 diverse partner organizations, reached thousands of people, and generated key media hits. Last year Dogwood Alliance got 50,000 people to send messages to the UK energy minister protesting at the destruction of southern forests to feed supposedly 'green' energy in the UK. They say "The movement is growing, and we are what it will take to stop the destruction of our forests." Read the SOS Tour Blog

Recent reports from US environmental NGOs Natural Resources Defence Council and Southern Environmental Law Center support our case that biomass feedstocks currently supplied to Drax by their main supplier Enviva are up to 3 times worse than coal. 

The White House has recently rejected biomass as carbon neutral.

2. New Biofuelwatch report on Biomass Gasification and Pyrolysis - with startling revelations about GIB funding for this technology.

Biofuelwatch has just published a new report by co-director Almuth Ernsting on Biomass Gasification and Pyrolysis (so-called “advanced conversion technologies”) in the UK. In addition, a series of questions in the form of an Open Letter to the Green Investment Bank has also been published, highlighting serious concerns about the ‘due diligence’ carried out by GIB when funding a biomass gasifer. Also available at the above link is an Executive Summary and a Map of Gasification projects in the UK.

Biomass and waste gasification and pyrolysis are being heavily promoted by the UK government, and particularly generous subsidies have been made available for electricity generation from these technologies. But this technology at the scale the funding incentivises is extremely inefficient, dirty and potentially danger to operate and as yet there have been no successful implementations and many failures.

The Green Investment Bank's backing for the Birmingham Bio Power project has encouraged other investor to follow suit in Bristol, Tilbury, Northampton and elsewhere. Unfortunately has chosen a technology partner, Nexterra, who, despite GIB's publicity has never successfully delivered this technology. GIB has also chosen a developer, Carbonarius, who have been behind several failed gasification projects which have lost investors up to £50m.
4. Banking on big biomass campaign: GIB Annual Review protest.

As part of our ongoing “Banking on Big Biomass” campaign, Biofuelwatch and the UK Without Incineration Network, picketted the Green Investment Bank (GIB) Annual Review event on Thursday 25 June. Two members of Biofuelwatch attended the event handed the Open Letter to Lord Smith GIB chairman, and asked questions about GIB's due diligence in their choosing to back biomass gasification (hugely inefficient and unproven) and their choice of delivery partners, Nexterra and Carbonarius.

The Green Investment Bank (GIB) was set-up to help finance low-carbon projects, but its first big loan went to Drax coal-fired power station, to help it convert half of its capacity to biomass. Read more about this here.

For more information and updates on this action and to get involved in future events, please visit our London local group “London Biomassive” or email
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