Bioenergy for Power

A range of biomass power generation technologies are mature and biomass is a competitive power generation option wherever low-cost agricultural or forestry waste is available. In addition, new technologies are emerging that show significant potential for further cost reduction.

Secure, long-term supplies of low-cost, sustainably sourced feedstocks are critical to the economics of biomass power plants. Feedstock costs can be zero for some wastes, including those produced onsite at industrial installations, such as black liquor at pulp and paper mills or bagasse at sugar mills. Sometimes their use actually saves disposal costs. Bioenergy can provide dispatchable, or baseload, electricity at very competitive costs. The regional or country weighted LCOE ranged from a low of USD 0.04/kWh in India and USD 0.05/kWh in China to USD 0.085/kWh in Europe and North America over the last ten years. Individual projects typically generate electricity that costs between USD 0.03 and USD 0.14/kW. But higher values exist, up to USD 0.25/kWh, particularly for waste incineration projects in the OECD where the primary purpose of the process is not electricity generation, but waste disposal.