Prince of Wales to open UK’s first commercial scale biomethane gas-to-grid project

For immediate release – Wednesday 21 November 2012

The Prince of Wales has opened the new anaerobic digester and biomethane to grid plant at Rainbarrow Farm, Poundbury, Dorset today (Wednesday).

The plant - owned and operated by J V Energen, a joint venture between local farmers and the Duchy of Cornwall – is the first fully operational commercial scale plant in the UK to inject biomethane (renewable gas) directly into the gas grid on-site.

Biomethane is formed from the decomposition of organic matter under controlled, anaerobic conditions, which produces the gas alongside a renewable fertiliser. It is extremely low carbon, and once upgraded is close to pure methane and very similar to natural gas.

Charlotte Morton, Chief Executive, ADBA:

“The UK’s first successful commercial-scale gas-to-grid plant is an exciting development, demonstrating the ability of the AD industry to deliver large volumes of green gas into the grid for use today.

“Biomethane – one of the few sources of truly low carbon and renewable gas – is strategically important for the UK economy and energy markets, delivering on the government’s key objectives for both energy security and economic growth. AD has the potential to generate £2-3bn worth of green gas – equivalent to more than 10% of the UK’s domestic gas demand – and support 35,000 jobs. Capable of scaling up fast and cheaply, it can fill a significant part of the gap left when our existing energy sources are taken offline in a few years’ time, helping to keep the lights on and meet climate change targets. At the same time, UK technology and expertise will be able to lead world export markets as global interest in biomethane grows.

“The Poundbury plant demonstrates that biomethane to grid technology works at commercial scale now. With 10 more plants scheduled to come online in the next 12 months, biomethane from AD should be recognised as the serious commercial energy proposition that it is.”

David Smith, Chief Executive of Energy Networks Association, representing the UK electricity and gas transmissions and distribution networks:

“This is a very positive step towards greater use of green gas, an important part of an affordable low carbon future. Our ‘2050 Pathways for Domestic Heat Report’ published last month showed that gas should play a vital part of heating homes into the future and the injection of biomethane onto the grid helps to meet climate change targets whilst having an energy future that is affordable to homes owners.

“ENA, Scotia Gas Networks and the rest of our members support the use of biomethane injection but it is essential that barriers faced in many projects like Poundbury across the country are removed. Challenges such as gas and waste regulation risk stunting this area of growth and we need to see a Minister responsible to provide a controlling mind that will resolve them and ensure momentum after this project.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

ADBA represents businesses in the anaerobic digestion sector, helping to remove the barriers to growth currently faced by the industry and to promote the benefits of AD to the UK. We want to realise the potential of the AD industry, and allow this sector to deliver energy security and economic growth – in waste management, farming, transport and food processing, among others – while also combating climate change. For further information on ADBA and anaerobic digestion (AD) please see our press and notes to editors pages on our website adbiogas.co.uk.

ENA represents the ‘wires and pipes’ transmission and distribution network operators for gas and electricity in the UK and Ireland www.energynetworks.org. 

A copy of ENA’s ‘2050 Pathways for Domestic Heat Report’ is available to download here:

www.energynetworks.org/news/publications/reports.html