A range of biomass power generation technologies are now mature and represent competitive power generation options wherever low-cost agricultural or forestry waste is available. In addition, new technologies are emerging that show significant potential for further cost reductions.
Secure, long-term supplies of low-cost, sustainably sourced feedstocks are critical to the economics of biomass power plants. Feedstock costs can be zero for some wastes, including those produced onsite at industrial installations such as black liquor at pulp and paper mills or bagasse at sugar mills, and their use can sometimes save on disposal costs. Bioenergy can provide dispatchable or baseload electricity at very competitive costs. Regional or country weighted LCOE has ranged from lows of USD 0.04/kWh in India and USD 0.05/kWh in China, to USD 0.085/kWh in Europe and North America over the last ten years. Individual projects typically generate electricity that costs between USD 0.03 and USD 0.14/kW; but higher values exist – up to USD 0.25/kWh – particularly for waste incineration projects in the OECD where the primary purpose of the process is not electricity generation, but waste disposal.