Sounds good doesn’t it? Nice and green. Dig into it a bit further though and it’s a different story. The majority of biomass is cutting trees down in the USA, making them into pellets, shipping them across to Liverpool, loading them on trains and transporting them across to Drax to be burnt to make power. Doesn’t sound so good now does it? Even if you accept trees as a power source as carbon neutral, the transport of the pellets makes the claim on renewable power a farce. It’s somewhat ironic that as we push to plant more trees, others are cutting trees down to supply our power while claiming it’s environmental.
If you want to see what’s going on try the Gridwatch web site. Here you can see the reality of where our power is coming from. How we rely on interconnectors to our near European neighbours (Brexit impact unknown!) which means exporting our power generation pollution (e.g. France is 75% nuclear powered). Once again we are exporting our pollution to other countries.
You can also see what happens on sunny days. Yes, solar ramps up but mysteriously wind power generation can drop, even when the wind is blowing well. This is due to curtailment, where wind generators are paid not to generate power so as to preserve our power generation agreements with other generators and interconnector partners.
Curtailing renewable power, when it could be stored or used to generate green hydrogen is surely an environmental “crime” that needs addressing. It’s all a symptom of a skewed power generation market that needs overhauling, but I’m not going to hold my breath.