Biomass capacity forecast to reach 1.5GW by 2020

Friday, November 23, 2012

Installed biomass generation capacity on Mexico's national SEN grid is expected to reach 1.5GW by 2020 compared to 550MW today, according to a study from energy ministry Sener.

The study, led by consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, evaluates the various sources of biomass in Mexico and its potential for power generation.

Of the 1.5GW, 950MW would come from agricultural residuals, 278MW from livestock waste, 200MW from urban landfills and 87MW from forestry residuals.

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The levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for biomass is expected to vary across the country from a low of US$64/MWh in the central and northeast regions to a high of US$78/MWh in the southeast.

The primary application of the additional biomass generation will be under the small producer and self-supply modalities. Growth is less likely to come from plants tendered by national power company CFE, which does not have any biomass facilities. However, the study said CFE is likely to create a biomass pilot project, much like the solar pilot plant being built at Cerro Prieto in Baja California state.

The study suggests if Mexico adds 1GW of biomass generation by 2020, it would contribute US$37.5bn to GDP, create 31,000 jobs and reduce CO2 emissions by 5Mt.

The study is available, in Spanish, here