Biogas does not make anyone hungry

The growing number of biogas plants has no effect on grain prices, either in bamberger land or in general. "There is no connection with the price increases this year", says the head of the bamberg office for food, agriculture and forestry, andreas knorr. If there were even the slightest signs of this, the politicians would come up with something. "We are not going to let people starve to death." The reasons for the price increase this year were due to weather-related incursions in various parts of the world. It remains to be seen how the price on the world market will develop in the coming weeks and months as a result of speculation.

Knorr relegates it to the realm of fable that a growing world population would lead to a shortage of grain and thus to price increases. "When other countries and continents were farming according to eu standards, we still had considerable production reserves", according to the head of the department. He is not referring to plantation farming, but to farming principles such as crop rotation or the cultivation of catch crops. "Despite a growing world population, I am not worried about a development of shortages", according to the head of the department.

"Because the price of grain has risen significantly, very little grain is being used in biogas plants this year", underlines waltraud dummler of the same authority. The critical mark here is 15 euros per quintal. If the grain becomes cheaper, it is more profitable to produce energy than to sell it to mullers and malters. But even the preliminary contracts were concluded by the farmers with prices of 23 euros per decitonne (quintal). Stored grain, which farmers can later sell, is expected to generate higher yields.

Dummler cites figures on this: "this year, the area under cereals in the district is about 23,500 hectares, and for whole-crop silage, a whole 135 hectares were specified, which is about 0.5 percent of the area". Moreover, the corn is very good this year and it will not be necessary to put valuable grain into biogas plants. "Nobody needs to starve because of biogas", she also says.

Not so happy to see the increasing use of flat land for energy generation. The photovoltaic plants alone, especially along the highway, together with the compensation areas, had spread over 617 hectares of flat land in the last five years – about 1.2 percent of the total agricultural area. "And this development continues", says waltraud dummler. The area under corn cultivation is significantly higher: while 4750 hectares of the classic biogas crop were cultivated in the district in 2008, last year the corn fields extended to over 1000 hectares more – 5800 hectares. Upward trend. "Fed" according to the latest figures, 20 biogas plants with a total rated output of five megawatts will be built in the city and district of bamberg. For comparison: in the neighboring county of forchheim there are 22 plants with likewise five megawatts.

For upper franconia, dummler cites a total of 193 biogas plants with a total of 45 megawatts, which makes the region the "worst in the world" in bavaria. For example, in upper bavaria, the number of energy producers from biomass is 596 (143 megawatts); it is similarly high in lower bavaria and swabia. According to the latest figures, there are a total of 2372 plants with an output of 674 megawatts in bavaria. Despite this proud number, the grafenrheinfeld nuclear power plant reaches other dimensions here: to replace its rated output of 1345 megawatts, it will probably need a few more alternative electricity suppliers.

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