Although wind and solar will continue to dominate the European market, the IHS study - Europe Biopower Markets And Strategies: 2012 – 2035 describes biomass as an attractive option for utilities seeking a technology capable of coping with intermittency from wind while maintaining existing coal fired plants.
However the study also notes that the industry faces a number of challenges over forthcoming years, particularly an ongoing need for subsidies. This could hamper its expansion in the face of the EU’s drive to convert to renewable energy.
Scarcity of native wood resources also means that the EU will have to depend on imported feedstock. Biomass is not currently competitive with wholesale power prices which is why it currently relies on government support and financial incentives.
At present Europe is the second largest biomass market with 30 GW of new additions by 2035. This compares with Asia Pacific at 46 GW and Latin America at 29 GW. In the short term growth in the European biomass market will be led by new dedicated biomass plants while in the longer term growth will be maintained largely through the conversion of coal plants to biomass.