Canadian Biomass Magazine

France intends for more biomass power

August 31, 2010
By Argus Media

Aug. 31, 2010, Paris, France – France plans to raise its biomass power production capacity to 3 GW by 2020 from an expected 1.1 GW in 2010.

Aug. 31,
2010, Paris, France – France plans to raise its biomass power production
capacity to 3 GW (17.2 TWh) by 2020 from an expected 1.1 GW (5.4 TWh) in 2010, as part of its renewable energy plan submitted to the European Union.
Energy regulator CRE has started the process to boost installed generation
capacity from biomass, saying it anticipates “linear progress” to hit its 2020
goals. The CRE approved plans for 32 biomass plants in January 2010 to boost
electrical generation from biomass by 266 MW. It opened the next round of tenders
in August 2010, for an additional 200 MW of capacity, to be submitted by
February 2011. France aims to produce 23% of its energy from renewables by
2020, with biomass contributing 11% of the renewable mix in terms of gigawatt

will come from three main sources, i.e., forestry, agriculture, and waste, with
the price of biomass based around the price of raw lumber, said the Ministry
for Ecology, Fisheries, Energy, and Sustainable Development. Initial
predictions by the Ministry put the total amount of wood needed at 21 million
m³/year, but a more recent Ministry survey said as much as 35.5 million m³/year
could be accessed. It cites a significant increase in the amount of available
industrial wood byproducts, including 5.7 million m³/year of smaller timber
off-cuts, because of increased awareness of biomass by industry allied to price

the Ministry admits that it will need to create a structure to encourage new
feedstocks, adding that two-thirds of France's forest is heavily fragmented in
private-sector ownership, which will impede development of forest biomass.

also aims to increase its use of agricultural and waste feedstocks. Generation
from domestic waste use is anticipated to fall to 5–6 million tonnes/year by
2020 from an expected 6–7 million tonnes/year in 2010 because of increased
recycling. However, waste from industry will rise to 2.7 million tonnes/year
from around zero. Agricultural waste, especially residual straw and grain from
harvest, will reach 5.3 million tonnes/year by 2020, also from around zero.


government is also wary about allowing biomass production to compete directly
with other land uses. “Increasing the use of biomass for energy production is
only possible within a strict hierarchy for land use: first food, then
industrial use, and finally energy. Any plan to mobilize forest biomass must
adhere to those criteria. The paper and cardboard industries will be
particularly vulnerable to pressure on raw materials, and the mobilization of
volumes of additional wood is essential to avoid creating resource tensions,”
the Ministry said.

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