Making bioenergy work for people and nature

Field visit and workshop

Somerset, 28th July 2016

Visit to RSPB Shapwick Heath where reed is harvested

This event was organised by the Ecosystems Knowledge Network in partnership with the RSPB. It was part-funded by the Natural Environment Research Council as part of a Knowledge Exchange Fellowship held by Bruce Howard.

Introduction to Energy for Nature

Bioenergy is renewable energy made available from materials derived from ecological sources, particularly plant material (i.e. biomass). Schemes that deliver genuine reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are likely to have an important role in meeting UK carbon emissions objectives.  Schemes that convert ‘biomass into bioenergy’ make use of underutilised plant materials; as well as potentially providing a variety of additional benefits.  These include:

  • A use for material that would otherwise be difficult or expensive to dispose of;
  • A source of renewable energy from rural landscapes for rural communities; and
  • A funding stream that supports conservation work and enhancement of the valuable services provided by land managed for nature.

The Energy for Nature project led by the RSPB and funded by Defra set out to show how biomass producers (such as RSPB, Natural England and local farmers) can be linked to the buyers of bioenergy products (such as local communities and the National Grid).  This can generate a funding stream that supports environmentally sensitive land management.  The Energy for Nature project was a Defra payment for ecosystem service (PES) pilot.  It ran for 12 months and concluded in March 2015.

Workshop presentations

Reports and other resources

David Wynne from AB Systems explains the process of producing briquettes from reed