Biomass power plant, Pécs, Hungary


PANNONPOWER Holding Zrt. started to build a power plant using biomass combustion technologies to produce energy in 2008 with the goal of making the town of Pécs independent from fossil fuels. The power plant plans to burn 240,000 tons of biomass (straw & soft-stem agricultural by-products) from the year of 2013 onwards. However, the quantity of biomass locally available for fuel is under debate. According the leaders of a local civil organisation, called Civils for Mecsek (CMM), the transport of biomass over long-distances (over 50 km) should not happen, as it theoretically turns green energy dirty. They argue therefore that the straw combustion power plant is not a green energy project. CMM is also worried about the negative impacts of the power plant on the agriculture of the region, as re-ploughing straw and agricultural residues in the soil is important to maintain the fertility of soil, as well as to prevent the drying of the soil in summer time. They also fear that a shortage of fuel could lead to local deforestation in search of feedstocks for fuel. Furthermore, the power plant has limited storage opportunities, therefore baling, transporting and storing of straw will mean a huge responsibility for farmers, and may take labour resources away from the main agricultural activities. The plant is currently in operation.

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Basic Data
NameBiomass power plant, Pécs, Hungary
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Pollution related to transport (spills, dust, emissions)
Agro-fuels and biomass energy plants
Specific CommoditiesWood, Energy Crops, Agricultural Residues, Straw
Biological resources
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe Pecs power station has an installed capacity of 200 MW, of which 65 MW is uses biomass.

Leaders of the power plant entrusted a market-research company to give an estimation for the available quantity of biomass in the area. According to the results, 7 million tons of straw, corn stover, and other agricultural by-products is accessible in the 100 kilometres surrounding of Pécs annually. 100 kilometres is the distance from where the biomass transport is still economical. In contrast, results of the Hungarian Central Statistical Office showed that this area can produce much less (2 million tons/year) agricultural by-products that would be usable by the power plant. The CMM refers to the results of the National Food Chain Safety Office that measured 700-800 thousand tons straw that accessible in a year.

Level of Investment (in USD)100000000
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Potential Affected Population--
Start Date2011
Company Names or State EnterprisesVeolia North America from United States of America
Relevant government actorsLocal government of Pécs
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersCivilek a Mecsekért Mozgalom - CMM (Civils for the Mecsek)
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingNeighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Forms of MobilizationCreation of alternative reports/knowledge
Media based activism/alternative media
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Noise pollution
Potential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsPotential: Occupational disease and accidents, Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseEnvironmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Strengthening of participation
Development of AlternativesThe CMM does not reject biomass power plants but rather favour an approach of small local scale appropriate power plants where the fuel does not need to be transported so far.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The new biomass power plant is in operation.
Sources and Materials

Hungarian article about the negative impacts of the bimass power plant:
[click to view]

Brochure of the Pannonpower Holding Zrt. about the power plant (in hungarian):
[click to view]


Web-page of the Civils for Mecsek:
[click to view]

Web-page of the investor:
[click to view]

Media Links

Pics of the protest:
[click to view]

Pics of biomass forum:
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorMalovics Gyorgy
Last update08/04/2014