Renewable energy sources present a possible substitute for fossil fuels and consequently help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Considering the fact, that more than half of Slovenia is covered by forest, wood biomass energy presents a great potential in this field. One of the options how to efficiently use wood biomass is a biomass power plant. The purpose of this thesis is to assess the costs of a power plant, which uses available biomass from Slovenia as fuel. At the same time, the goal of the thesis is to compare the costs of a large power plant with the costs of a number of smaller power plants, which use the same total amount of available wood for their operations.
In the beginning of the thesis, we present the basic characteristics of biomass and its use. We pay special attention to wood biomass and its potential in Slovenia and provide information about the costs of wood biomass in Slovenia. We then describe the operations of a biomass power plant with emphasis on different conversion and production technologies. We also provide formulas to calculate the installed power and quantities of produced electric power. At the end of the theoretical part we discuss investment and operational costs, connected with a biomass power plant. We also present a few of the concepts from the field of economics of financing with related formulas for calculations and examples.
Within the analysis, we then present the premises and initial values, used by further calculations of costs. In addition to general premises for a power plant, this part of the chapter determines the quantity of available biomass and its calorific value. This is followed by the selection of places, which represent potential locations for the construction of a power plant. At the end of this part, we describe the principle of determining the distance of biomass transport and the method of extrapolation, which is used to determine the transportation costs.
Further on, we present the results of calculations of operational and investment costs of one large power plant and six and thirteen smaller biomass power plants, which are in their total power production equivalent to the large power plant. At the end, we compare and comment the obtained results, which did not confirm our initial expectations that the total costs will be greater in the case of a single power plant. The investment costs heavily rise with the increase of the number of power plants, while the final value of operational costs is only a little lower in the case of a larger number of power plants.
In the final part of the analysis, we presented financial plans of power plants for an operational period of 20 years, based on calculated costs. This is followed by a comparison of results and three examples, with which we picture, how we could reach the initial expectations, saying that it is more economical to invest in a number of smaller power plants than a single larger one.