Feb 8, 2017

Top 10 biomass generators

Alice Young
5 min
Drax power station, UK Owner -  Drax Group plc Total capacity - 4,000MW

Drax power station, UK

Owner -  Drax Group plc

Total capacity - 4,000MW

The Drax power station, near Selby, North Yorkshire, has the single-largest capacity of any power station in the UK — and it’s one of the largest in Europe. At one time solely coal-fired, the plant converted one of its generators to run on compressed wood pellets in 2013. A second power unit was upgraded the following year, with a third expected to be completed in 2017. As it stands, 70 percent of the plant’s total electricity output is provided by the new biomass generators.  

The wood pellets used to fuel the Drax plants are made from low-grade wood, like forest thinnings and waste from sawmills and agricultural processes. It’s then transported from Drax Group’s North American production facilities to the UK.


Alholmens Kraft , Finland

Owner - Oy Alholmens Kraft

Capacity - 265MW

Alholmens Kraft is located at the site of the Finnish pulp, paper and timber manufacturer UPM-Kymmene in western Finland’s Ostrobothnia region. The plant has been in operation since January of 2002. It supplies an additional 100MW of heat for the paper mill as well as 60MW used for homes and businesses in the nearby town of Jakobstad.

The plant’s steam boiler utilises wood-based materials as fuel, as well as peat moss. Coal is also used as a reserve fuel.


Polaniec, Poland

Owner - Engie

Capacity - 205MW

In 2013, French utility Engie — then known as GDF Suez — debuted the massive Polaniec power station in south-east Poland. The plant is fuelled by a mixture of agricultural and tree-farming by-products. The plant is said to provide enough electricity to 600,000 households annually, and prevents 1.2 million tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.


Atikokan Generating Station, Canada

Owner - Ontario Power Generation

Capacity - 205MW

Canada’s coal-fired Atikokan Generating Station was converted into a biomass plant in a two year project completed in the summer of 2014. The firm which owns and operates the plant, Ontario Power Generation, opted to use wood pellets as fuel because the energy content is similar to that of the coal that the facility was initially designed to burn. As a result, much of the equipment could be easily adapted during the conversion.


New Hope Power Partnership, USA

Owner - New Hope Power Partnership

Capacity – 140MW

Based at South Bay, Florida, the New Hope Power Partnership is one of the most significant biomass projects in the country and has an installed capacity of 140MW.

The power plant burns sugar cane fibre (bagasse) as well as recycled urban wood for electricity generation. The power output of the plant is used for processing sugar cane as well as for supplying electricity to around 60,000 homes. It sells 500,000 Mwh of electricity per year to the wholesale markets and provides process steam to the Okeelanta Sugar Mill and Refinery.


Maasvlakte 3, Netherlands

Owner – E.ON

Total capacity – 1,070MW

Although predominantly coal fired, Maasvlakte 3 still burns a substantial amount of wood chips to generate power. Currently the plant supplies around seven percent of the Netherlands’ domestic requirements – analysts predict that around 20 percent of the output will eventually be generated by biomass, with the raw materials having to be delivered by ship. Maasvlakte is a harbour and industrial district near Rotterdam.


Rodenhuize Power Station, Belgium

Owner – Bilfinger

Capacity – 180MW

Opened in 2011, Rodenhuize is a converted coal power station located in Ghent. Now firing 100 percent biomass, the plant offsets around 1.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year and generates enough electricity to power 320,000 homes. Electrabel has signed a long-term agreement for the supply of 225,000 tonnes of biomass a year to the plant, a key part of Belgium’s plan to generate 20 percent of its energy via renewable sources by 2020.


Manjimup Biomass Power Station, Australia

Owner – WA Biomass

Capacity – 40MW

Although not yet complete, the Manjimup project is an important step for Australia in terms of its adoption of biomass as a viable renewable energy source. The 40MW capacity will power 50,000 homes and is located around 300 kilometres south of Perth. Manjimup is strategically located within the existing South West timber region, with good access to plantation timber.


Vaskiluodon Voima Oy, Finland

Owners – EPV Energia Oy and Pohjolan Voima Oy

Capacity – 140MW

The CFB gasifier for Vaskiluodon Voima Oy was built in response to the critical need to reduce the environmental load of traditional coal-fired power plant. As a result, 40 percent less coal is now used at the site and biomass alone can generate enough power to heat 10,000 homes during the bitterly cold Finnish winters. Valmet completed the conversion project in late 2012.


Tees Renewable Energy Plant, UK

Owners – Macquarie and PKA

Capacity – 299MW

A new 299 MW biomass fuelled combined heat and power project is set to be built on land within the Teesport Estate near Middlesbrough in North East England. Site preparation is underway, with main construction works starting in a few months. Commercial operations are due to start in 2020.

The project will cost approximately £650m to construct and will be built under a turn-key engineering, procurement and construction contract by a consortium of Tecnicas Reunidas of Spain and Samsung Construction and Trading (SCT) of South Korea.


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Mar 20, 2020

Top 10 ways to prepare for COVID-19

Georgia Wilson
3 min
Energy Digital sets out Gartner’s Top 10 ways organisations can prepare for a pandemic, via effective operational risk management
Energy Digital sets out Gartner’s To...

Energy Digital sets out Gartner’s Top 10 ways organisations can prepare for a pandemic, via effective operational risk management. 

As the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to develop, many businesses are left uncertain as to whether their risk mitigation plan is sufficient. 

In a recent webinar conducted by the research and advisory firm just 12% of 1,500 people believe that their business is highly prepared for the impact of COVID-19, while 56% believed themselves to be somewhat prepared, and 11% believed themselves to be very unprepared. 

“Most organizations have done some pandemic planning but still have many unanswered questions about whether they have done everything they can to manage risks,” says Jim Mello, Senior Director, Advisory, Gartner. 

Establish a preparedness framework

Establish a team that represents all critical business functions. These people will report directly to executive management and are responsible for prioritising the importance of business activities and organise them in tiers for response and recovery.

Monitor the situation

It is important to ensure that organisations monitor the rate in which the infection is spreading and its severity. Many rely on the World Health Organisation for information.

Revise finance

Be sure to revise revenue forecasts and communicate with investors, as well as suppliers in regards to any potential finance issues. It is important to ensure that the business has the working capital to ride it out. 

Ways to ensure this include: working capital checks, seeking loans or government-sponsored financial relief.

Extend personal hygiene and cleaning protocols

It is important to comply with any changes to workplace regulations. In addition, it is important to establish protocols for staff returning from infected areas, as well as extending existing hygiene activities.

Review HR 

Ensure close monitoring of absenteeism rates for signs of problems. It is important to identify critical staff in order to make sure the company can continue to function in their absence and be prepared for up to 40% absentee rates.

In addition to reviewing HR policies and procedures, it is important to maintain a level of sensitivity when it comes to engaging with employees and workplace preferences. 


Establish a communication programme

People can feel out of the loop quickly. Establish a spokesperson appropriate for the situation who can maintain lines of communication. In addition, organisations should establish pre-approved messages and scripts for various stakeholders.

Review the impact on the operation

Although this may seem overwhelming, the team established to represent all critical business functions should identify key areas to consider. It is important to maintain a connection with the reality on the ground in countries affected.

Key questions to consider: is transport functioning? Have holidays been extended? Where can operation continue and where do they need to stop?

Review IT 

IT business functions tend to be relatively well-prepared for business continuity. However, it is important to assess the supply chain for critical equipment and keep extra inventory if required.

In addition, organisations should keep in mind remote data centre management and cloud options for critical systems as well as enabling remote working programs and rescheduling any non-essential IT work prioritising key applications. 

Review pandemic plans to identify any gaps in response

Conduct a preparedness exercise by validating roles and responsibilities as well as recovery requirements and procedures, in order to identify any gaps in the recover capabilities and resource needs.

Review after-action

Following the establishment of a pandemic plan, identify three lessons learned, key observations or improvements for the exercise. After establishing these organisations should priorities the short and long term follow up actions.

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