German biogas lobby expects further slowdown, job losses
Clean Energy Wire
Germany’s biogas lobby expects another slowdown in new installations and job losses in 2019, and warns that many operators might close plants in absence of a change in the business environment. “The summary of the annual sector survey is worrying,” Fachverband Biogas said in a release. The unfavourable outlook prevents new projects from emerging and forces existing plants to close, said managing director Claudius da Costa Gomez. In 2018, the total of projects producing electricity grew by 113, taking the total of such installations to 9,444. For 2019, the association forecasts only 79 new plants, which would take the installed production capacity to 5.2 gigawatts. The installations produced 33 terawatt-hours of electricity in 2018 and helped save 20 million tons of CO2, the association said. The association expects a decline in revenue for 2019 to 9.3 billion euros from 9.7 billion in 2018 and a drop in employment by 1,000 to 48,000. Da Costa Gomez called on the government to use the legislative process around the planned climate protection law to provide more security for the sector.
Germany got some 7 percent of its gross power production from biomass in 2018, which makes 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. Yet wider public acceptance has not always been forthcoming. There is an ongoing debate over whether growing crops for fuel is really ecologically sound. And while state-legislated support for other renewables has helped drive the costs down, bioenergy remains expensive – resulting in changes to feed-in tariffs that have kept investors guessing over the future of the sector.