German bioenergy industry calls for crisis support to ensure energy supply
Clean Energy Wire
Four bioenergy industry associations have called for changes in regulation and temporary exemptions to cushion corona crisis-related burdens in the sector. "Many plant operators are currently struggling with additional difficulties caused by the pandemic. We urgently need pragmatic regulations to mitigate these burdens, because bioenergy contributes significantly to the basic energy supply," said Sandra Rostek, head of the joint sector association Hauptstadtbüro Bioenergie. The industry said a lack of staff, challenges with transportation and interruptions in supply chains could lead to obstacles in providing input materials for plants. This would make it difficult for facilities to meet legal deadlines and criteria for receiving support payments through the Renewable Energy Act (EEG). Germany's grid agency BNetzA has released information about how to deal with the EEG's tender conditions during the crisis, but these steps "far from cover the necessary scope”, said Rostek. Temporary exemptions from existing rules must be granted in order to give plant operators more flexibility, proposed the associations.
Almost 8 percent of German energy use came from biomass in 2019, making it the largest renewable source ahead of wind and solar. Most of it is used in combined heat and power plants (CHP). Bioenergy is also 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. Impacts of the coronavirus outbreak in Germany have already led the BNetzA to extend wind farm implementation deadlines as it has begun to disrupt supply chains and delay construction across Europe.