Standalone biopower facilities have the potential to bring hundreds of megawatts online per installation. Biopower can also optimize existing industrial processes, such as combined heat and power (CHP) installations, reducing coal emissions through co-firing, and onsite generation for industrial facilities like biorefineries. While biopower currently remains limited as a subsidy-dependent enterprise, technological breakthroughs and the expansion of international trade in biomass pellets are expected to lead to sustained growth in the sector. According to a recent report from Navigant Research, worldwide revenue from biomass power generation will reach $11.5 billion annually by 2020.
“Offering dispatchable, baseload support to the grid with high load reliability, biopower will continue to play a cornerstone role in meeting renewable energy targets,” says Mackinnon Lawrence, principal research analyst with Navigant Research. “Logistical challenges associated with the collection, aggregation, transportation, and handling of biomass, however, will continue to limit the commercial potential of biomass power generation.”
The expansion of the biopower market will largely be determined by government mandates. Official targets for the integration of renewable energy from biomass in national electricity and thermal production portfolios are set by government policies. These policies can be either aspirational or mandated, but if they remain in place through 2020, they could help the biomass market expand. If incentives and subsidies continue to be implemented on an ad hoc basis, growth in this sector is likely to remain constrained, according to the report.
The report, “Market Data: Biomass Power Generation” provides capacity and revenue forecasts, market sizing, and market share analysis for electricity production from biomass, covering dedicated/co-fired, anaerobic digestion, and biorefinery facilities. The report also quantifies the expected supply of electricity from biomass and the amount of feedstock consumed at generation facilities on an annual basis. Worldwide revenue and capacity forecasts, segmented by application and region, extend through 2020. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the Navigant Research website.