Bioenergy: update - March 2021

Considers the potential role for bioenergy to support our net zero greenhouse emissions targets and outlines how we intend to move forward over the next 18 to 24 months to understand the most appropriate and sustainable use of bioenergy resources in Scotland.

3. Facts and Figures


Bioenergy is a flexible renewable energy resource that can be used to meet demand for heat, electricity or to support industrial decarbonisation. The feedstock comes from a wide range of diverse sources, and at its simplest is categorised as "dry or "wet"- as outlined below.

Diagram 1. Process for conversion of bioresources to bioenergy

Various dry or wet feedstock can be converted through a number of different technological processes to produce heat, electricity or transport fuels.


  • The majority of both capacity and output of Scotland's renewable heat in 2019 came from biomass primary combustion and biomass combined heat and power (CHP). Together, these technologies account for 1.65 GW of capacity and 3,678 GWh of output. Biomethane makes up 14% of output, followed by heat pumps (8%) and energy from waste (7%).
  • Almost half (44%) of renewable heat output comes from 90 large installations of over 1 MW. [3] The biomass (heat) and CHP feedstock is mostly from forest and timber supply chain wood and woodchip.
  • The majority of the rise in renewable heat output in 2019 is due to a 26% increase in biomethane output.
Technology Annual Output (GWh) Number of Installations
Biomass 2,906 8,550
Biomass CHP 772 20
Biomethane 716 20
Energy from Waste 383 170


  • Bioenergy and energy from waste accounted for 8.1% of all renewable electricity generated in Scotland in 2019 (2,472 GWh).
  • There is 183 MW of bioenergy projects in the pipeline, the vast majority of which are energy from waste projects.[4]
Diagram 2. Generation of Renewable Electricity from Bioenergy and Waste

Scotland currently has 192 sites with 516 MW capacity to produce electricity from bioenergy or waste. These sites generated 2,472GWh of electricity in 2019. There is a further 183 MW of capacity in the pipeline.



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