French government launches biofuel cogeneration tender

France is set to launch a tender for wood-fired power plants for a total of 50 MW per year for three years.

The government is simultaneously launching another tender for biogas-fired plants for 10 MW per year for three years, the energy ministry, led by Segolene Royal announced in a statement on Monday.
Segolene Royal
The tenders – which will close by Aug. 8 with project selection before the year-end – will be open to wood-fired biomass plants with capacities below 25 MW and biogas plants with capacities below 5 MW. One fifth of the biomass tender will be reserved for projects smaller than 3 MW.

Reuters reports that bidders will have to propose wood-fired cogeneration plants with an energy efficiency level of at least 75 per cent and will have to source wood from sustainable forestry.

The ministry said the biogas installations should not use food crops and that it will favour projects using animal manure. Subsidies will be in the form of a premium on the power sold, but the ministry gave no details on the level of support.

France is playing catch up on Germany and the Scandinavian countries in investment in this area, with just 1.4 percent of the power produced last year coming from bio-energies, according to data from grid operator RTE.

Between 2009 and 2013, government environment agency ADEME’s “Fonds Chaleur” (Heat Fund ) allocated EUR1.12bn to nearly 3,000 renewable heating projects, many of them operated by the energy services units of utilities EDF, Engie and Veolia.

Energy Minister Segolene Royal said last year the fund will spend another EUR420m by 2017.

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