Biomass in Spain 2019

Forest where biomass is taken
The thermal biomass sector in Spain maintains the optimistic trend in 2019, with a good level of equipment sales and new facilities and an increase in the production of solid biofuels.

According to the data collected by the AVEBIOM Biomass Observatory for more than 10 years, we have already exceeded 300.000 biomass heating equipment installed. The majority are small appliances, stoves and boilers of less than 50 kW for domestic heating. Thanks to its operation instead of others fueled by fossil fuels, we avoid the emission of more than 4 million tons of CO2 per year.

We estimate that there are more than 10.500 MW installed, which represents 12% of all heating systems in the country, including single-family homes, housing blocks and, increasingly, distributed heat networks. Our expectation is to get closer to the 13.000 MW installed by the end of 2020.

In addition, this year, we have definitely promoted an important project: the certification of biomass installers. Since June 2019 we have the first certified companies and little by little they are joining more.

With the iBTc seal - Certified Thermal Biomass Installer - we intend to support to the consumer the companies that professionally execute the installation, operation, maintenance and repair of biomass thermal installations.

Heat networks

Currently, biomass heat networks exceed 400 facilities, which is also the most widely used technology for this solution.

We have been present at the last World Climate Summit, COP25, advocating precisely the enormous advantages of biomass heat networks to empower the energy consumer and fight against climate change.

Upward pellet consumption

The biomass alternative to generate renewable heat, both domestically and industrially, has penetrated society. And to this has contributed fundamentally the stability and lower price of solid biofuels against the volatility of fossil fuel prices.

With the data from the last report of the Biomass Price Index prepared by AVEBIOM, we see that domestic pellet prices remain below € 300 / tonne.

Domestic pellet consumption strengthens and in 2019 we will reach a new production record with more than 700.000 tons.

100% of the ENplus certified pellet used in Spain comes from sustainably managed forests, which guarantees the growth of new trees instead of the trees used.

More than 65% of the wood that grows every year in our forests is not touched, which increases the carbon stock. And of the 35% of wood that is used only 10% becomes pellets. The consumption of pellets in 2018 fixed pollution of 3 million cars in Spanish forests.

Economy of the sector

Our forecast of turnover in 2019 for the solid biomass sector (thermal, electric and traditional wood) is around 1.550 million euros, of which around 60% correspond to its most modern facet, which operates with equipment of advanced technology and high quality biofuels.

The solid biomass sector already employs in Spain more than 18.400 people directly, to which we would have to add another 36.000 indirect jobs, basically related to the supply of biomass and in rural areas punished by depopulation.

This year, the twelfth edition of Expobiomasa has also been celebrated. We are very satisfied with its development and results, the best of its entire trajectory. This year the quality of the offer of the exhibiting companies has been enormous, and the number of professionals we have received and the volume of business generated have far exceeded the figures of the previous edition.

Impulse policies are needed

I believe that the necessary promotion of photovoltaic, wind and storage solar technologies must be linked to biomass. To take advantage of all the potential that biomass can provide, Spain urgently needs an ambitious development plan, both for thermal and electricity generation.

The development of both sectors is necessary and synergistic since this will increase the efficiency and profitability of forest exploitation. Contemplating the use of biomass within forestry planning would guarantee the supply of biomass in the face of an increasing demand.

Javier Díaz, President of the Spanish Energy Valuation Association of Biomass, organizing body of EXPOBIOMASA.