CRE approves Albioma Bois-Rouge conversion to 100% biomass
France-headed independent energy provider Albioma SA has announced that its Bois-Rouge cogeneration plant in La Réunion has been given the go-ahead to fully convert from coal to 100 percent biomass following the deliberation by Commission de régulation de l’énergie – CRE.
According to Albioma, CRE validated on December 3, 2020, the offsetting resulting from the signature of an amendment to the power purchase agreement (PPA) signed by EDF for the conversion of the Albioma Bois-Rouge power generation facility to biomass. Conversion work will begin as early as 2021 so that the plant can be 100 percent biomass-powered in the latter half of 2023.
Priority is to be given to locally available biomass sources including bagasse and woody biomass, supplemented by imported wood pellets from FSC and PEFC-certified forests, the traceability procedure of which will be compliant with the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR).
Ultimately, the conversion will increase the proportion of renewables in the energy mix on Reunion Island from 35 percent to 51 percent and make it possible to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by approximately 640 000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2eq) per annum – an 84 percent reduction in direct emissions compared to the plant’s current operating levels.
CRE’s decision also provides for an investment budget, needed to extend the operation of the group’s oldest unit (ABR1) for 15 years; the electricity purchase agreement has consequently been extended from 2027 to 2043 for ABR1.
As stated in the deliberation, “the biomass sector is of central importance to the success of Réunion Island’s energy transition. The current Multi-Year Energy Programme for Réunion Island (MEP) sets targets for the substitution of coal in electricity production by renewable energy sources or the recovery of up to 481 GWh of additional annual production in 2023 compared with 2013. The conversion to biomass at the Bois-Rouge power plant, expected to be effective for all units in the Second Half of 2023, will contribute to achieving this energy policy objective, with electricity production from biomass estimated at around 530 GWh.”
After having innovated in Reunion Island in 1992 by commissioning the first bagasse/coal hybrid power plant, we are pleased to announce today a new era serving the energy transition: the end of coal at Bois-Rouge and the extension of the power plant’s electricity sales contract until 2043. Enshrined in the Multi-Year Energy Programme (PPE), our plant’s conversion to 100 percent biomass will make renewables the majority source in Reunion Island’s energy mix, said Frédéric Moyne, Chairman, and CEO of Albioma.
He added that the Albioma Le Moule power plant (ALM3) in Guadeloupe was recommissioned on November 20, 2020, to operate using biomass.
Albioma continues to make more and more room for renewable energies in its energy mix: our strategy is aimed at reaching nearly 100 percent renewable energies by 2030 at the latest, said Frédéric Moyne.
The Albioma Bois-Rouge plant, which has an installed capacity of 108 MW, supplies around 25 percent of the region’s total power demand.