What was the aim of the work?
A biomass boiler and steam turbine provide heat and power to a sawmill and export surplus electricity to the grid. The installation is fuelled with co-products from the timber processing that is carried out at this site and a sister facility in central Scotland (bark chip, butt chip and wood chip made from offcuts). The plant is an accredited generating station under the Renewables Obligation Scheme, and a heat-generating installation under the Renewable Heat Incentive. The client’s revenues from these schemes are conditional on maintaining compliance with the scheme rules. This includes monthly and annual data submission obligations, fuel sustainability audits, self-supplied fuel quality certification through the Woodsure scheme and compliance with the MCS Biomass Maintenance Standard.
What was the outcome?
The client’s core business is timber production. Natural Power’s compliance and analysis services enable Glennon Brothers to concentrate on that core business. We process meter data, plant operating data and laboratory fuel analysis results to produce the figures that are required by Ofgem on a monthly basis, including assessments of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the plant’s heat and power generation. We manage and implement the client’s annual data submission to the CHPQA scheme. However, we go beyond simply data crunching to look for insights that can help the plant operator to improve efficiency or avert future problems.
In 2022, new requirements were introduced that placed new obligations on the site’s operations. Natural Power managed the process of gaining accreditation under the Woodsure fuel quality assurance scheme for the site’s self-supply of 4 different categories of fuel, and advised on the plant-specific implications of regulations concerning boiler maintenance checks. Compliance with these regulations was essential in order for the site’s Renewable Heat Incentive payments to be maintained.
What did Natural Power do to get this result?
Achieving Woodsure accreditation required our team to map out fuel processing pathways, assess quality control points and advise on fuel specifications. We found that, for the most part, the site’s process was already compliant with the scheme requirements. We advised on minor changes that needed to be made, and captured the details of the enhanced process in a Quality Manual which was submitted in support of the accreditation application. Our work involved extensive liaison with the scheme provider due to the unusual nature of one of the fuels.
Natural Power’s ongoing Ofgem and CHPQA data submission work also involves leading dialogue with the scheme administrators to resolve problems and requests for extra information as they arise. We keep our client informed about issues, consulting where appropriate, but take responsibility for their resolution to the greatest extent possible. Quality assurance is always part of our workflow, ensuring accurate data entry and processing in order to protect our client’s revenues and the public purse.
"We’ve worked with Natural Power for many years and have relied on their expertise to ensure we comply with all the standards laid out by Ofgem and CHPQA. Natural Power are able to take the weight from our shoulders and offer a service to our business that is concise and friendly and just what we need. "
Scott Shiells, Head of Group Operations, Glennon Brothers (UK) Ltd.