Renewable Energy is Up as Nuclear Depletes in W. Europe
To meet carbon emissions targets and reduce dependency on depleting fossil fuel reserves, the nations of Western Europe are beefing up their renewable energy generation, but significantly limiting growth within their nuclear power industries in the face of widespread public opposition, says business intelligence providers GBI Research.
According to the firm’s latest report, the top 10 Western European power markets will increase renewable installed capacity from 308.5 GW in 2012 to 466.9 GW in 2020, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 5.3%.
Meanwhile, during the same time frame, nuclear installed capacity for these countries will grow from 104 Gigawatts (GW) to 105.6 GW – representing a far smaller CAGR of just 0.2%.
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GBI Research expects a negative growth trend in nuclear power across countries such as Germany, the UK, Spain and Sweden, but overall positive growth is forecast until 2020 due to capacity additions from Finland and the traditionally nuclear-reliant France.
In terms of power market share, however, Western Europe’s nuclear power installed capacity is predicted to drop from 14.2% last year to 11.3% by the end of the decade – primarily due to the increased influence of renewable power, which is expected to grow from 38.8% to 49.8% during the same period.
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GBI Research’s report predicts the total cumulative installed capacity of these top 10 Western European nations to climb from 758.1 GW in 2012 to 937.3 GW in 2020, at a CAGR of 2.7%
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.