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Biomass suppliers must register to prove fuel is sustainable

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 21 May 2014 at 10:46 am

Producers and suppliers of biomass woodfuel are being urged to register their business on the government’s newly launched biomass suppliers list (BSL)

From October 2014, only fuel bought from a registered supplier can be used in biomass boilers, if their owners wish to claim the renewable heat incentive (RHI)

This is so the energy regulator Ofgem, who are administering the list, can reassure themselves that the biomass being supported under RHI has come from a sustainable source. 

Businesses may register on the biomass suppliers list list by clicking here

Application to the BSL is free but the process varies for different types of suppliers. 

Biomass producers

If you are a producer of biomass fuel, who sells either to trade or direct to consumers, you will need to make a greenhouse gas calculation based on the size of your company. 

If your company is less than 50 staff, with a turnover of less than Euro10m, you can use a simplified calculator that is available on the application form. 

If your operation is larger than that, you need to use the UK Solid and Gaseous Biomass Calculator. 

To do the calculation, you’ll need information on the ‘lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions’ of your fuel for example the type of dryer you use to dry the fuel, the way in which you transport your fuel and the distances it travels. The emissions must meet the target of 34.8g CO2 equivalent for MJ or heat of 60% GHG (greenhouse gas) savings against the EU fossil fuel average. 

Biomass suppliers

If you are a trader who sells biomass fuel to consumers, then in order to register, you’ll need the following information about your suppliers:

  • Their biomass supplier list license number
  • The distance from their depot to yours
  • The amount of fuel you get from them each year

It is suggested that traders encourage their suppliers to register first so these details are readily available to them. 

Self suppliers

If you wish to burn fuel that you have produced yourself AND your boiler is less than 1MW, then you will be able to register as a self supplier on the BSL without having to undertake any assessment.  However, the wood you use must come from the same ‘estate’ as the installation in order for this to be the case. You may also top up this supply with fuel from either a registered supplier, or with waste woodfuel. The rules state that you must keep a record of the origin and amount of waste woodfuel used, for the purposes of auditing. 

Ofgem plan to audit a small number of RHI applicants. Any biomass claimants who are found to be using wood from unsustainable sources, could face losing their subsidies. 

Critics of the BSL have questioned whether the list will create a two tier market where fuel from the list costs more than non-compliant fuel. 

DECC says there is ‘uncertainty’ about whether suppliers will pass the increased costs associated with compliance onto the consumer and that they will be ‘monitoring the impact of the BSL on fuel prices’.

More information 

YouGen guide to biomass heating

YouGen guide to renewable heat incentive


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If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.

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2 comments - read them below or add one


BlueMoonerComment left on: 30 May 2014 at 3:49 pm

Whilst they are badging it up as "being sure of the eco credentials" it just smacks to me of a way to extort more money from the end users and the producers - watch the price rise exponentially from October.  I'll stock up now thanks.

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greenderbyshireComment left on: 29 May 2014 at 9:14 pm

Thanks for your work in providing more information about sustainable fuel source for Biomass Log Boilers.

Unfortuately the government requirement to "prove" the wood is from sustainable sources will have closed the door to RHI for many who use 100% waste wood.  

I'll clarify.  I get my wood from a local tree surgeon and produce the logs suitable for my boiler by cutting and splitting myself at home.   I season the wood on site.  The tree surgeon sells the wood as waste.   What is for sure is he isn't going to register as a sustainable supplier.  I am sure he would be more likely to climb a tree to the moon.  This isn't his business.  He produces waste wood for very good reasons - he doesn't manage a forest as a big business activity.    There must be a lot and lots of biomass log boiler owners out there that do exactly what we do - use what you can get.

We installed our boimass boiler in 2006 and did so on the basis the fuel would be cheap.  I spend £300-400 per year with the tree surgeon.  I estimate buying in the same quantity of logs ready for burning would cost £2000+.    

I was going to replace my boiler and get the new RHI, but now will be precluded from getting the RHI as the new requirement will make the ongoing fuel costs prohibitive, by a very large distance.    

The government has totally missed the point here - green energy only works in practice if it is the same or a cheaper cost than non-green heating systems.  The capital costs are expensive enough, there has to be some advantage elsewhere.   Wood bought in ready to burn is extremely expensive, the price being based on the luxury log stove end of the market.  This new requirement is going to make the price go up even further.

I bet the government man who dreamed this policy up doesn't have a log fired biomass boiler system. 

Domestic RHI - I'm extremely disappointed and therefore OUT.


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