E. ON switches on Slovakia plants

Germany-based utility E.ON is expanding its biomass power plant portfolio.

The company has switched on two new biomass power plants in Slovakia and expects another two more to come online in the coming months.

The total installed capacity of
the €16 million project would be 4MW, supplying enough electricity to power nearly 14,000 households. Each plant has 1 MW of installed capacity.

Slovakia, a relatively new European Union member state since January in 2009, generates the majority of its electricity from nuclear and coal-fired power plants operated by the country's dominant power company Slovenske Elektrarne, a unit of Italy's Enel.

Investors and energy companies are looking at developing power plants running on wood chips, straw and other biomass as a way to help European Union countries meet tough, legally binding 2020 greenhouse gas emissions targets.

Biomass is in theory a low-carbon energy source compared to fossil fuels because burning wood or crop waste only emits carbon dioxide which plants and trees absorb.

Slovakia is also making a name for itself in the biofuels for transport sector. In 2009 Slovakia produced 247,000 tonnes of biodiesel in 2009, ranking 16th out of the EU 27. The eastern European nation also manufactured 30 million litres of ethanol in 2007 and 94 million in 2008.

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