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4Q2016 Update: Bioenergy Projects Underway in Scandinavia & the Baltics

December 20, 2016
Author: John Greene

DONG Energy

In a major step towards reaching Copenhagen's goal of being CO2-neutral by 2025, Denmark’s Avedøre Power Station is now able to produce electricity and heat from wood pellets and straw, rather than coal and gas. For the last 18 months, Avedøre has been in the process of converting its coal-fired power station unit and the entire combined-heat-and-power (CHP) plant to run on biomass.

The conversion—part of a heat agreement between the Danish energy companies Vestegnens Kraftvarmeselskab (VEKS) and DONG Energy—aims to provide renewable district heating to VEKS' customers in the Greater Copenhagen area. The change from coal to sustainable wood pellets will contribute significantly to the city's climate targets; Avedøre Power Station expects to reduce its CO2 emissions by 500,000 metric tons of CO2 per year—equivalent to the annual emissions from 255,000 cars.

Avedøre Power Station expects to supply district heating from biomass to approximately 215,000 homes in Copenhagen, as well as electricity for more than 600,000 households annually. "Following the conversion of unit 1 at Avedøre Power Station, we can produce heat for more than 215,000 Danish households in the Greater Copenhagen area without using coal or gas. The conversion is a major contribution to achieving a green district heating system in the Greater Copenhagen area as well as a green electricity system, supplementing solar and wind power," said Thomas Dalsgaard, executive vice president at DONG Energy.

DONG Energy has reduced its coal consumption by 74 percent since 2006 by using more wind and biomass, and the trend is continuing. Earlier this fall, Studstrup Power Station near Aarhus also made the transition from coal to renewables. "We’re reducing our annual coal consumption at Avedøre Power Station by around 160,000 metric tons. This is very good for the climate and in line with the conversion of our power stations, which has been ongoing for several years," Dalsgaard added.


Avedøre Power Station. Source: DONG Energy


Lahti Energia

Nordic Investment Bank has signed a 15-year loan with Finnish utility provider Lahti Energia for the construction of a new biofuel heating plant, Kymijärvi III. The project is part of the city of Lahti’s plan to cut CO2 emissions in half by 2025 (compared to 1990 levels). The new facility is expected to decrease CO2 emissions by up to 500,000 metric tons per year; emissions of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides are expected to decrease by roughly 600 metric tons annually.

The new 170 MW biofuel heating plant will replace an existing 350 MW coal-fired plant, Kymijärvi I, which will be phased out of use by 2020. The new plant will produce heat for the district heating network of the cities of Lahti and Hollola.

The new biofuel plant is equipped with the latest technologies and will use certified biomass as its primary fuel. Kymijärvi III will also be outfitted with an efficient flue gas treatment system to comply with the European Union’s Industrial Emissions Directive. The flue gas design also incorporates heat recovery technology that is estimated to improve overall efficiency by 10–15 percent. Lahti Energia estimates the total cost of the heat production project at roughly €165 million.


Kaidi Finland

Chinese firm Sunshine Kaidi New Energy Group, a multinational that focuses on renewable energy production, energy products and environmental technology, recently announced that it will establish a new biofuels plant in Kemi, Finland. Kaidi Finland, a subsidiary of Sunshine Kaidi, says it has acquired a 32 hectare (79 acres) plot in Kemi for the project. The city has the existing infrastructure, abundant feedstock and favorable site conditions, the company noted in a press release.

Kaidi Finland plans for the plant to be up and running by 2019, at which time the northern Finnish city will be a major producer of environmentally friendly fuel. The plant will have an annual output of 225,000 metric tons of biofuel, of which 75 percent will be biodiesel and 25 percent will be biobased gasoline. The plant is designed to meet a growing Finnish and European demand for alternative biofuels, as estimates indicate that the market size for biodiesel in the EU by 2021 could amount to 21 million metric tons.

Former Finnish defense minister and Kaida Finland CEO, Carl Haglund said that he intends for construction of the plant to begin in 2017. "The progress has been very positive this past autumn, particularly in regard to legislation and how these biofuel markets will develop in the near future and especially beginning in the 2020s. Kaidi's goal is to begin construction of the Kemi biorefinery next year," said Haglund.

The plant is estimated to cost up to €1 billion; Kaidi Finland has estimated that some 4,000 jobs will be created during the building process, and a permanent staff of 150 will be employed by the plant thereafter.


Lietuvos Energija

The European Investment Bank has approved a loan for €190 million to Lithuania’s state-controlled energy holding company, Lietuvos Energija, for the construction of a new CHP plant in Vilnius. The new project includes a biomass-fired and waste-to-energy-fired CHP plant with total capacity of 88 MW and 227 MWth (megawatt thermal). The plant will supply electricity to the national grid and heat to the district heating system in Vilnius.

With an expected completion date of 2018, the project will reduce the municipal waste landfill for Vilnius and decrease energy prices, expand Lithuania’s energy portfolio and improve security of energy supply in the country.

Jan Vapaavuori of EIB said that “Lithuania has a growing economy and an increased need for a cleaner environment and efficient use of energy resources. I am glad that through the Investment plan for Europe the EIB can support Lietuvos Energija and the Lithuanian people in financing a key stepping stone to an improved security of supply, as well as more cleanly generated energy.”

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