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Decentralised biogas plants instead of new gas-fired power plants Biogas sector offers 12 GW of capacity and calls for prospects


Existing biogas plants can make the construction of new gas-fired power plants superfluous. This saves time and money, brings added value to the regions, heat to the municipalities and is also climate-friendly. Nevertheless, the word "biogas" is nowhere to be found in the German government's power plant strategy.

The future of biogas utilisation in Germany is being decided now. These are the clear words used by Horst Seide, President of the German Biogas Association, to describe the situation in his industry.

The Power Plant Strategy (KWS), the National Biomass Strategy (NaBiS) and, above all, the next biomass call for tenders are setting the course for the continued existence of the biogas plant park. There are still almost 10,000 plants with a total power of around 6 gigawatts, which generate over 33 terawatt hours of electricity per year - which corresponds to around 6 per cent of electricity consumption in Germany - and the same amount of heat, which is mainly used in rural areas. However, the EEG remuneration period for hundreds of plants will end in the next few years - and the tendering rounds for follow-up remuneration were recently oversubscribed threefold.

"The operators want to, if you let them," says Horst Seide. Doubling the current output from 6 to 12 GW by 2030 would be possible without any problems. This would make the construction of new gas-fired power plants superfluous. "And that doesn't mean that we produce more biogas and use more biomass, but that we set up additional combined heat and power plants and only produce electricity when the sun isn't shining and the wind isn't blowing," emphasises the President. He suspects that the German government has not yet fully grasped the difference between power and labour, as the word "biogas" does not appear in the KWS.

He is therefore calling for a clear signal from political Berlin in favour of biogas - because it is incomprehensible to anyone why a functioning power plant park operated with renewable energy is being dismantled and at the same time billions are being spent on new fossil gas-fired power plants. This makes neither ecological nor economic sense.

In order to utilise the existing potential, the tendering volume must be increased to 900 MW per tendering round and the flex surcharge to 120 euros per kW and year. This would still be considerably cheaper than building new power plants, assures Seide. The biogas output could even be increased to 24 GW by 2040.

"Once the existing plant park has been decommissioned, it can no longer be reactivated later," warns Christoph Spurk, Vice President of the association and Managing Director of a large German biogas plant manufacturer. The aim is to maintain and further develop well-functioning plants and the expertise that operators have built up over 20 years. "We now need to take the next steps, dovetail renewables in all sectors and optimise the use of all technologies," demands Spurk.

We must not make the same mistakes with biogas as we did with the solar and wind sectors and gamble away Germany's market leadership here too. "Domestic companies can still implement the further development of biogas utilisation," promises Spurk. There are still motivated workers in the industry who have the necessary biogas expertise. But clear signals and a reliable perspective are needed now, on the basis of which operators can calculate the continued operation of their plants and ultimately also obtain loans for them.

"In terms of energy economics, it makes absolutely no sense to shut down existing decentralised power plants and build new ones instead," says Christoph Spurk, confirming the statements made by President Horst Seide

Brief information Fachverband Biogas e.V.:
The Fachverband Biogas e.V. represents the biogas industry in the umbrella organisation for renewable energies, the Bundesverband Erneuerbare Energie (BEE) e.V. With over 4,700 members, it is Europe's largest lobby group for the biogas industry. The Fachverband Biogas e.V. represents manufacturers and plant constructors as well as agricultural and industrial biogas plant operators throughout Germany.www.biogas.org

Fachverband Biogas e.V.
Andrea Horbelt
Press Speaker
Tel. 0 81 61 / 98 46 63
Mail: andrea.horbelt@biogas.org