Regional and Environmental Effects of Biogas Use
Biogas plants have different effects on a region depending on their size, the feed-in product, the plant operator and the biomass which is used. The advantages and disadvantages for the regional economy and the environment of different plant types are assessed in this project. The study focuses on a concrete region in Northeastern Germany.
Renewable energies play an important role in meeting the ambitious climate policy targets agreed upon by the German government in August 2007. Within the range of available renewable energy sources, bioenergy is likely to deliver the major share of future renewable generation. Already today bioenergy delivers about a third of all primary energy production from renewable sources. An increasing share of biogas production occurs in the Neue Länder where large land structures are more beneficial for biomass supply compared to other areas in Germany. However, an increasing number of huge biogas plants with up to 20 MW have sparked debate about the regional impacts of such biogas plants and their ecological performances. Concerns have been raised about the development towards more centralized and capital intensive plant designs. The last amendment of the German Renewable-Energies-Act (EEG) clearly favours small-scale biogas plants while large-scale plants like the 20 MW plant in Penkun (Mecklenburg-Vorpommern) face serious cuts in their feed-in tariffs.
Overall, the project aims to assess the regional and ecological effects of biogas plants in the Neue Länder based on a demonstration plant. It is funded by the Federal ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs.
In a background study, Ecologic compares three different types of biogas installations: a set of rural small-scale plants with local heat and electricity generation, a combination of biogas.