Over the years, we have gained considerable experience with the production of energy from biological waste products. At the end of 2013, our own installed capacity for the production of energy from biomass amounted to 49.9 MW. At present, we have biomass installations for the production of electricity, heat and green gas with a capacity of more than 90 MW under development.
The largest biomass plant in the Benelux, Eneco Bio Golden Raand, was put into operation on 1 November. This biomass plant has a capacity of 49.9 MegaWatt and counts local industries among its customers. These include the company AkzoNobel Industrial Chemicals, which purchases half of the generated electricity. The plant uses recycled wood chips as the input for the production of electricity and employs 30 people. Bio Golden Raand can produce sufficient electricity for 120,000 households. Together with the local industry, Eneco is investigating the possibilities to supply steam generated by the biomass plant to factories in the vicinity.
In 2013, Nuon and Eneco reached agreement on the development of one biomass plant for sustainable district heating and electricity in Utrecht. Until that moment, both companies were developing plans for the construction of such a plant, with the aim to enhance the sustainability of the production of district heating compared with the current situation. However, the district heating demand in Utrecht can be met by the production of a single biomass plant. Together, Eneco and Nuon have been looking for a solution that is satisfactory for both parties. This has resulted in the decision to build one plant at the Nuon site. Agreement has been reached about the further collaboration during this project. If Nuon would decide to abandon the project, Eneco has the right to continue the development on the Nuon site. This gives Eneco optimal security that it will be able to supply sustainable heating to its customers in Utrecht. We expect the decision about the awarding of the project to be taken at the end of 2014.
The price of the raw material used in biofermentation systems is rising and also unstable, while electricity prices are dropping. This makes it difficult to operate biofermentation systems at a profit. Eneco expects that this situation will not change in the short term. For the many small suppliers, raw material for biofermentation is usually a residual flow. This makes it difficult to make clear agreements about continuity of supply and to influence the price. In view of these developments, Eneco has decided to phase out its activities in the area of biofermentation. At the end of 2013, our activities in the Netherlands and Belgium were terminated or transferred.