Analysis of coal conversion to biomass as a transitional technology

Bunn, D W, Redondo-Martin, J, Munoz-Hernandez, J I and Diaz-Cachinero, P (2019) Analysis of coal conversion to biomass as a transitional technology. Renewable Energy, 132. pp. 752-760. ISSN 0960-1481 OPEN ACCESS


The dominant transitional path towards a low carbon electricity industry for systems which have been heavily dependent upon coal is through its replacement by large scale wind farms and the widespread emergence of distributed solar. In this pathway, maintaining resource adequacy in the context of increased intermittency in generation has become a major concern. This paper examines this requirement to maintain resource adequacy and compare the costs and carbon impacts for new gas turbines or biomass conversions to achieve this in an expedient transitional way. This is formulated as a policy optimization in which the imperative is to replace existing coal with a renewable alternative (in this case study, wind) and to maintain the system security at the existing level, and thereby find the optimal subsidies, either as energy credits ("green certificates" or “contracts-for-differences”) or capital benefits ("capacity payments" or tax
allowances). In a model of the GB system, the results show that that biomass-conversion outperforms investment in peaking gas turbines to deal with the transitional economic externality of extra reserve costs. In particular, the results suggest benefits of 10% lower costs of subsidies, 70% lower implied costs of carbon, and a reduction of 18% in wholesale power prices.

More Details

Item Type: Article
Subject Areas: Management Science and Operations
Additional Information:

© 2018 Elsevier. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license

Date Deposited: 20 Aug 2018 09:33
Date of first compliant deposit: 17 Aug 2018
Subjects: Investment and growth
Renewable energy industry
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2022 00:22

Export and Share


Accepted Version - Text
  • Available under License


View details on Dimensions' website

Downloads from LBS Research Online

View details

Actions (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item