Investment in the building of AD plants is essential to the growth of the industry globally, but securing such investment can be challenging. Levels of support from governments vary enormously from country to country, but such support is key in creating a positive investment environment for AD, which has the potential to be a highly profitable £1trn global market.
The cost of developing AD plants also varies significantly between high- and low income countries. Low income countries are able to build plants on a low budget, but safety and environmental integrity might be compromised. Meanwhile, in Europe, where plants are developed to much higher regulatory standards and therefore require much more funding, calls for a carbon price and post-2020 Emission Trading Scheme to help to create a low carbon European economy could bring a welcome increase in interest from investors into the AD sector.
In the UK, while government support for AD has been stagnant over the past few years, proposed higher tariffs for the Renewable Heat Incentive offer hope for a shift in government policy up to 2020. The UK AD industry offers a substantial return on investment, and, with the right support, could deliver £1.1bn in CO2 savings, £1bn in reduced gas imports, and £4.9bn in exports per year.