Renewable energy meets immovable object in uk legislation


UK renewable energy provider Living Fuels, a subsidiary of AIM listed REG Bio-Power, is appealing to the UK government to address discrepancies between renewable energy strategy and current UK legislation.These discrepancies are holding back many companies from bringing large scale renewable technologies to market.

The organisation has perfected a method of refining used cooking oil into a biofuel – LF100 – which can be used to generate clean electricity.Living Fuels is now calling out for the government to change current legislation which continues to treat their fuel as a waste product and imposes additional financial restrictions which make the process commercially unviable.

Living Fuels’ plans to produce combined heat and power (CHP), from LF100 on a large scale, fall directly within the remit of the UK Renewable Energy Strategy (July 2009).

However, says Ian Collins, managing director of Living Fuels: "the gulf between strategy and regulation means that there is currently a greater legislative and financial burden on our carbon-neutral fuel than less environmentally-friendly fossil fuel counterparts such as diesel.

“This is because, despite being classified an end of waste (EoW) product by the Environment Agency – which means the fuel ceases to be a waste product once it leaves the filtration process – LF100 is still subject to the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2007 (EPR).”

The EPR states that all waste and combustion activities above certain thresholds must either be granted an exemption under the regulations or hold a permit before operations begin.Living Fuels, like other companies in the renewable energy sector, is affected by the wording in Section 1.1 which states that “fuels manufactured from or including waste” require a permit as the oil they are created from was once classified a waste product.

The EPR legislation does not take into account the legal and technical status of EoW fuel products.

Collins continues: "recycling used cooking oil not only supports the public sector’s commitment to the environment but also the wants and needs of many commercial businesses looking to increase their sustainability.

“There is an estimated ¼ million tonnes of UCO being produced in the UK annually.That’s enough to power ¼ million average homes for a whole year.UCO will not solve the energy crisis on its own, but, it will certainly make a big impact.

“However, at this point in time, the discrepancy in the Environmental Permitting Regulations means that many innovative, renewable energy initiatives are being exposed to inappropriate regulatory burden.”