Castilla y Leon has an installed base exceeding 500 MWt of biomass for thermal uses, which represents an investment of 125 million euro, 500 jobs and the valuation of 100,000 t / year of indigenous biomass. It also has more than 20 biomass plants for electricity use (55 MWe), with an investment of 100 million euro, 550 jobs and 500,000 t / year of biomass.
Renewable energies have a triple interest for Castilla y León: for rural areas, as a spur to development; for the economy, attracting investments and jobs and for the environment, by replacing more polluting technologies.
As a predominantly rural region it has a large amount of biomass resources, estimated at about 13,000 ktoe / year in terms of primary energy, of which over 85% are forest and agricultural resources that could be exploited for energy purposes by a large variety of consumers, very differently, in pellets, biofuels, electricity, heat, etc.
The Sectorial Regional Plan of Bioenergy of Castilla y Leon is the main instrument launched by the Castilla y Leon to develop this sector. Its validity is for the whole decade. Among its objectives is to harness up to 7 million tons of different types of biomass for energy purposes, something possible to achieve to a great extent.
Biomass power plants
Although the most known of biomass is its thermal aspect, thanks to savings achieved for heating when compared with the use of fossil fuels, some types of biomass are very suitable for generating electricity.
This is the case of the organic fraction of municipal solid waste and wastewater, with which electricity can be generated upon production of biogas. Otherwise, larger in terms of power, is the use of agricultural waste, which is abundant in the region. Noteworthy is the agricultural region Bureba-Ebro, where 100,000 tons of cereal straw are used annually (mostly wheat), and sent to the biomass plant at Briviesca (Burgos), with an installed capacity of 17 MWe.
The Briviesca plant produces the energy equivalent of 881,000 barrels of oil. It has 25 direct jobs and between 70 and 80 indirect (mainly in the supply of straw). It uses agricultural waste, and has created a new development path for the primary sector.
The plant prevents the emission of 115,000 t / year of CO2, with a purifying effect equivalent to 6 million trees. The plant has been promoted by Acciona and EREN (Regional Energy Agency of Castilla y Leon).
Savings for municipalities
Until recently, the use of fossil fuels for heating was usual in Spain, however, the landscape is changing and the implementation of automated systems that use biomass is becoming a real alternative for heating.
Although consumer awareness has had a major influence, commitment and dissemination by public administrations as well as the savings achieved with biomass compared with the high price of oil and gas have also been important.
An example of public commitment already happened 8 years ago in the school Tabuyo del Monte in Luyego (León), where obsolete equipment manually fed by coal and wood was replaced by a new automated one fed on chip and pellet, meeting also the heating needs of the municipal gymnasium and auditorium.
The City Council of Luyego and Neighborhood Board of Tabuyo del Monte are responsible for the supply of biomass, buying from various suppliers and also using chip produced in their own mountains.
Noteworthy of the installation is its boiler with adjustable power of 13-45 kWt, storage tank, automatic feeding, combustion chamber, fumes cyclone scrubber and control processor. The heat transfer fluid is water at 90 ° C.
Distribution and consumption of thermal energy is carried out via a conventional radiator system, that receives the heated water through a network of pipes.