Flexible biomass reaches capacity limit for financial support
Clean Energy Wire
Germany’s biomass plants have reached a cap of 1,000 megawatts (MW) of capacity eligible for a special flexibility premium set in 2014, the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) has announced. From December 2020 on, biomass plants will thus no longer be able to apply for funding in return for providing extra installed capacity for demand-oriented power production – the ability to quickly turn renewable power production on or off, depending on the demand. The German Biogas Association cautioned that the biogas industry will now lose the "economic incentive" to increasingly function as an ally for fluctuating renewables with its ability to store and flexibly feed power into the grid. "Thousands of plants could still be made more flexible," said COO Stefan Rauh.
About 7 percent of Germany's gross power production came from biomass in 2018, making bioenergy the country’s third largest renewable electricity source after onshore wind and solar PV. The industry and many experts point to biomass’ potential as a reliable, weather-independent electricity source in an increasingly renewable power mix. Germany’s biogas lobby has, however, recently said it expects a slowdown in new installations and job losses in 2019. The association called on the government to use the legislative process around the planned climate action legislation to provide more security for the sector. The maximum volume of solar power capacity eligible for support in Germany is also expected to be reached in 2020, with just about 4 gigawatts (GW) of free capacity remaining out of a maximum of 52 GW. The economy ministry is considering whether to take action to ensure that German solar power expansion is not halted.