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Nigel welcomed the US Governor of Virginia, Bob McDonnell to the House of Commons for a meeting to discuss biomass energy production.
Nigel Adams, as Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Biomass, organised the event as a platform for the biomass industry which is very important for economic and employment opportunities in North Yorkshire via Drax and Eggborough power stations.
The meeting was to further strengthen links between the biomass industry in the UK and the state of Virginia as a source of sustainably sourced wood pellets. Nigel welcomed representatives from Enviva, a US producer of sustainably sourced wood pellets as well as Drax and Eggborough power stations, which both plan to increase biomass capacity.
In Virginia increased demand for wood means that the biomass industry is also helping to reforest land which was previously used in industries which have seen a reduction in demand, such as tobacco production, because for every tree selected for removal at least four trees are replanted. Most of the wood sold to the energy sector is actually the low value trimmings and thinnings which are left behind after the more valuable parts of the tree have been sold as timber for building or furniture making.
Nigel Adams and Governor McDonnell also had the chance to meet with the Prime Minister and Energy Secretary Ed Davey to discuss the plans.
Nigel said, “This meeting is part of a new emphasis on biomass energy production which will not only help the UK to achieve its carbon emission targets, but will also provide employment opportunities in this exciting and fast-developing sector of the economy.” He said, “I welcome expansions in the biomass capacity of Drax and Eggborough power stations as they will be a great boost to North Yorkshire’s economy.
Dr Nigel Burdett, Drax’s Head of Environment, who attended the event said: “Subject to the right regulatory support Drax plans to significantly increase the amount of biomass it uses in place of coal. Biomass comes in many forms from local Yorkshire straw through to wood pellets which could indeed be sourced from Virginia. What all these sources have in common is that they are sustainable and renewable and will significantly reduce Drax’s carbon footprint, even when all transport and processing is taken into account. It was important for MPs to hear the Governor and his team’s commitment to producing sustainable biomass which will not only help meet carbon reduction commitments but also meets other sustainability criteria such as respecting habitats, water supplies and not endangering food supplies.”