January 10, 2012 - Later this month, the
world's largest biomass-fueled power plant will come online in the
United Kingdom, generating an estimated 750 megawatts (MW) of base
load renewable power.
The Tilbury, England facility represents a significant step
forward for the biomass power generation sector, which is expected
to expand rapidly in the coming decade.
Defined as the generation of electricity and heat from biomass
resources, biopower is one of the only base load renewable energy
sources with widespread availability of fuel resources.
Theoretically inexhaustible and found in abundance around the
world, biomass feedstocks currently supply an estimated 14% of
global primary energy. Traditional biomass products like
ﬁrewood, charcoal, manure, and crop residues still provide the main
source of household energy use for some two to three billion people
As global energy demand escalates and efforts to
curb greenhouse gas emissions intensify, an increasing number of
countries are turning to biomass resources as fuel for
commercial-scale electricity production.
According to a new report from Pike Research, worldwide biomass
power generation capacity will grow to at least 86 gigawatts (GW)
by 2021, from 58 GW in 2011. That represents a total investment of
$104 billion from 2008 to 2021.
Under a more aggressive growth scenario, capacity could reach 115
GW, representing $138 billion in cumulative investment as
governments incentivize renewable power sources that can alleviate
concerns around energy security, reduce carbon emissions, and
stimulate economic development.
"Although facing significant headwinds, the biopower industry is
continuing to add capacity worldwide as governments look to develop
low-cost, base load renewable energy sources," says senior analyst
"Currently, power generation from biomass is hamstrung by policy
uncertainty and the high costs of feedstock relative to fossil
fuels, but the combination of a burgeoning international trade in
biomass pellets, implementation of emission regulations, and
increased utilization of co-firing strategies is expected to
accelerate global scale-up efforts over the next decade."
Encompassing varied organic matter like
grass, leaves, wood, wood chips, rice husks, peanut shells,
sugarcane fiber, and waste, the biomass supply chain is complex and
rapidly evolving. Limited by local biomass supply
constraints, most dedicated biopower facilities today are less than
50 MWWith larger (100 MW) facilities coming online and
commercial power producers increasingly turning to co-firing
biomass with coal as a low-cost strategy for reducing emissions,
efforts to expand the geographic footprint of supply chains are
underway. Pike Research estimates that demand for biomass
resources will reach at least 1 billion tons per year, with an
expanding trade in biomass pellets a key indicator of growth over
the next decade.
Pike Research's report, "Biopower Markets and Technologies",
analyzes the global market opportunity for electricity production
from dedicated, co-fired, and CHP biopower sources.
The study includes a comprehensive examination of market
drivers, existing and emerging technologies, feedstock
opportunities, the public policy and regulatory landscape, and key
Market forecasts for installed power generation capacity,
cumulative investments, and pellet production and consumption are
segmented by geography and key countries through 2021. An
Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on
the firm's website
world demand for energy will require a recalibration of the supply
portfolio that will consist of a combination of sources including
fossil fuels and renewables. At GLOBE 2012, taking
place March 14-16, 2012, senior executives from
leading international energy companies to discuss the future global
energy mix in a special Energy Leaders Dialogue.
More information on GLOBE 2012 here