French renewable energy provider Albioma increased its biomass-fired capacity in 2020, despite delays to plant conversions as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Albioma increased its installed global biomass-fired power capacity by 6pc on the year to 889MW in 2020. Renewable energy accounted for 68pc of the firm's power generation last year, up by one percentage point from 2019 and in line with Albioma's pledge to phase out coal by converting its overseas power plants to 100pc biomass.
The company's revenue from its thermal biomass capacity in France increased by 2pc on the year to €435.4mn ($524.4mn) in 2020.
Albioma's renewable power generation from its plants in overseas French territories was down by 6pc on the year to 1,940GWh in 2020. The decrease stemmed from an extended shutdown at its 102MW Le Moule plant Unit 3 in Guadeloupe for biomass-conversion works and a decline in Brazilian bagasse-fired power. Power output from Albioma's Brazilian bagasse-fired plants decreased by 4.6pc on the year owing to lower sugar cane volumes. The the average sales price for its power in Brazil rose by 5pc on the year to 268 reals/MWh ($47.70/MWh).
And the company's biomass capacity will increase further in the coming years. Unit 3 of the Le Moule plant restarted on 23 November, after a five-month delay owing to Covid-19. The conversion is expected to increase the share of renewables in Guadeloupe's energy mix by 15 percentage points to 35pc. The plant will run on bagasse during the sugar harvests, the company said.
French energy regulator CRE granted Albioma approval on 3 December to convert its 108MW Bois-Rouge coal-fired plant on Reunion Island to biomass. The plant is expected to be 100pc biomass-fired by the second half of 2023, with works expected to begin this year. Bois-Rouge will run on locally sourced biomass and imported wood pellets.
Albioma's fourth bagasse-fired plant in Brazil was commissioned on 25 December. The 48MW Vale do Parana plant in Suzanapolis, Sao Paulo, is a joint venture with sugar mill Vale do Parana. Once operational, the plant is expected to supply 30MW of renewable electricity to the grid.
"All of these measures make us confident in our ability to meet the new objectives that the Group has set for 2025 and 2030," Albioma chairman and chief executive Frederic Moyne said. The group is targeting 90pc renewable power generation by 2025 and almost 100pc by 2030.