Over the last five years, the number of biomass power plants in Europe almost doubled. Currently, about 800 mono-firing biomass power plants in 23 countries convert thermal energy from the incineration of wood, black liquor or other biomass into electrical energy.
The electrical power of these plants increased from 5.3 GW in 2003 to 7.1 GW at present. ecoprog and Fraunhofer UMISCHT say they expect a further increase of the biomass power capacity up to more than 10 GW until the end of 2013.
The main reason for the strong market growth is the intensified promotion of the electricity generation from biomass. By now, almost all of the European countries have introduced feed-in tariffs for electricity from biomass. Additionally, a lot of states raised the subsidy rates significantly in the last years, the ecoprog consultancy and Fraunhofer UMISCHT says.
The most and the largest biomass power plants are found in the densely wooded Scandinavian states. There are also several of facilities in Germany and Austria – first and foremost because both states subsidised the electricity generation from biomass comparatively intensely and for a long time.
However, countries like France, the UK and the Baltic states will intensify the use of biomass for generating electricity in the coming years. One can find promising locations in the paper industry or the forestry. These sites will be increasingly developed in the context of modified feed-in tariffs.
There will also be further extensions of existing capacities in the well-established biomass markets like those in Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Germany. The pace of this construction, however, will remain constant or even decelerate slightly.
The incinerators of scrap wood face a very distinct situation. Due to the economic crisis this mass flow decreased sharply at last, which caused a dramatic rise in prices.
The study The Market for Biomass Power Plants in Europe, by ecoprog and Fraunhofer UMSICHT analyses the operator and plant market in the sector of electricity generation from solid biomass in Europe.