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Over EUR 1.68 billion worth of biomass power projects in Sweden

New large biomass combined heat and power (CHP) plants are being planned for Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö and Uppsala, while construction is underway for new plants in Borås, Upplands Bro and Västerås. Together, these projects represent around SEK 16 billion (≈ EUR 1.68 billion) of investment according to Bioenergi's annual report and overview of biomass power plants in Sweden.

Photo rendering showing the siting of Mälarenergi's planned biomass-fired CHP at its Västerås facility (photo courtesy Scheiwiller Svensson Arkitektkontor AB).

Photo rendering showing the siting of Mälarenergi’s planned biomass-fired CHP at its Västerås facility (photo courtesy Scheiwiller Svensson Arkitektkontor AB).

Fortum Värme, Göteborg Energi, E.ON and Vattenfall are major players on the Swedish market that are now exploring the possibilities of building new biomass-fired combined heat and power (CHP) plants. The investments can come to almost SEK 10 billion (≈ EUR 1.04 billion) for these four projects that are undergoing extensive analysis ahead of final investment decisions to be taken.

Today, the construction of three new bio-power plants in Borås, Upplands-Bro and Västerås are underway for a total of around SEK 6 billion (≈ EUR 629 million). In the forest industry, SCA and Stora Enso are building biomass plants in Östrand and Hylte Bruk.

Later this autumn, Härjeåns Energi will commission a new biomass combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Sveg for SEK 350 million (≈ EUR 36.69 million). Earlier in the spring, Ronneby Miljö & Teknik started operating a small-scale biomass power plant in Bräkne-Hoby, an investment of  SEK 1.6 million (≈ EUR 167 000) and several small biogas plants have also been started.

Despite tough market conditions for biopower with low prices for electricity and electricity certificates, a number of large and small biopower plants are being built and planned in Sweden. However, there is a risk that several of the planned facilities will be built to produce heat only, unless the benefit of biopower as being dispatchable independent of weather and wind, is valued higher.

Biopower in Sweden

Tidningen Bioenergi’s annual analysis and overview of bio-power plants in Sweden show 214 bio-power plants are operation and more than 15 facilities planned or being built in 2017.

The analysis is published in Bioenergi, No. 4-2017 and includes a map “Biokraftkartan 2017” showing plants that generate electricity with biofuels, peat, and waste as fuel. The total installed power capacity is approximately 4000 MW.

The so-called normal-year production for these power plants is approximately 16 TWh.

 

However, electricity production from biopower was significantly lower due to the economic conditions with low electricity prices and low price of electricity certificates, and that many plants are too old to receive revenues through electricity certificates.

On average, biopower plants in normal year production are estimated to be approximately 4 000 hours of the total 8 760 hours in the year.  The operating time of an industrial plant is longer than for a cogeneration plant.

The potential for increased electricity production is high. If all plants were to run 8 000 hours a year, electricity generation would be over 30 TWh per year.

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