It has been announced that four of the five contenders set to receive EU funding for innovative low-carbon energy projects come from the bioenergy sector.
The European Commission has said the eventual recipients will receive a share of proceeds from the sale of 300 million carbon credits from the New Entrants’ Reserve (NER).
Money will be raised through the NER 300 programme in Phase III (2013-20) of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) to fund renewable energy and carbon capture/storage projects. The NER 300 is expected to raise between up to €1.5 billion ($1.8 billion), and projects could receive a maximum of 15% of the available capital.
According to the Commission, Swedish bioenergy project Pyrogrot is the lead candidate, which is developing a plant to produce 160,000 tonnes a year of bio-oil using forest residues as feedstock.
Other bioenergy projects in the hunt for funding include a Swedish GoBiGas project, designed to convert low-quality wood into synthetic natural gas, and an Italian project for the conversion of lignocellulosic biomass from selected energy crops into ethanol.
'The new funding made available for bioenergy in the European NER 300 call reflects the growing importance of biomass as a low carbon source of heat and power,' said Jeremy Tomkinson, chief executive of bioeconomy consultancy firm NNFCC.
'European production of energy from biomass is likely to grow by 30GW between now and 2035, as utilities invest in alternatives to coal and gas,' he added.
Sixty-six renewable energy projects applied for funding from the NER 300 and 22 were eventually shortlisted. The Commission aims to decide by the end of this year on which projects will receive the help.