Over the last ten years, renewable energy has contributed significantly to the global final energy consumption. Its contribution grew from 80 GW in 2004 to 480 GW in 2013 and accounted for nearly a fifth of the energy consumption in 2012.
Renewables have also been increasing their share in global electricity generation capacity. In 2013 they accounted for an estimated 22.1% of global electricity production, which is approximately 340 GW out of the total global capacity of 1,560 GW (REN 21, Global Status Report, 2014).
As per the REN 2014, global biopower (including solid, liquid and gaseous fuels) electricity generation capacity was 88 GW in the year 2013. With 4.4 GW capacity, India ranked 5th among the top producers of electricity from biopower, is behind United States of America (15.8 GW), Brazil (11.4 GW), China (8.5 GW) and Germany (8 GW).
In 2014, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) developed a global renewable energy road map called ReMap 2030, which maintains that biomass would become the single most important renewable source if all additional renewable technology options in the 26 REmap countries were to be implemented worldwide by 2030. Biomass use worldwide could grow by 3.7% every year from 2010 to 2030 - twice as fast as it did from 1990 to 2010 (IEA, 2013) and global biomass demand would double from 56 exajoules (EJ) in 2010 to 108 EJ by 2030 (IRENA, 2014).
Total primary energy consumption in the form of biomass reached approximately 56 EJ in 2010, of which almost 60% came from traditional biomass and the rest from modern bioenergy (solid, gaseous and liquid fuels). The sectoral distribution of biomass consumption in the world is shown below.
Looking at the way biomass energy is consumed currently in all sectors of the global economy, whether in the industry or for grid power or for captive power, the demand will definitely increase. This increasing demand can be managed through effective strategies and new policies that take into account the uncertainties in demand and supply, cost related problems, availability of land and water resources, as well as the environmental impacts of biomass. Further, the policies should be tailored to different applications and technologies. If the biomass sector is to succeed in any country, it is important that policies target a number of options, depending on the structure of a country’s power sector.