Prospects for Bioenergy in Europe - Supply, Demand and Trade
Sammanfattning: Renewable energy sources (RES), such as biomass, can be used to address two important issues in Europe: climate change and energy security. If biomass is produced sustainably and used efficiently, bioenergy contributes very little to CO2 emissions. The overall objective of the work presented in this thesis is to provide a scientific basis describing how bioenergy can play a fundamental role in the transition to more sustainable energy systems. For this purpose, an assessment of the potential biomass supply was made. This assessment shows that the long-term biomass supply could amount to up to 16 EJ/y in the EU27, i.e. 21% of the current primary energy supply, taking environmental and land-use restrictions into account. The greater part of this potential biomass supply consists of perennial energy crops. Thus, if biomass is to play a major role in the future energy supply, large-scale perennial energy crop production is required. The analysis of the economics of growing willow, a perennial energy crop, indicates that it can be equally viable for the farmer as that of cereal crops if subsidies and the cost of risk are excluded. In a strategy to reduce the cost of risk, a central issue is to create opportunities for a long-term demand for bioenergy. In Sweden and Finland, two of the leading bioenergy-using countries in Europe, energy and CO2 taxes have been the key instruments in increasing the use of bioenergy. Creating opportunities for bioenergy in general will not immediately or necessarily stimulate perennial crop production since production costs are at the high end of the biomass cost range. In a strategy to stimulate perennial crop production, large coal-fired power and combined heat and power (CHP) plants can play an important role. Co-firing of biofuels in these plants is a low-risk bioenergy strategy for energy companies. The continuous and, compared to other continents in the world, more intense promotion of bioenergy in Europe is likely to increase biofuel imports unless the EU chooses to expand the use of trade barriers and tariffs. When Swedish energy policy in the early 1990s made biofuels the most competitive fuel in the production of district heat, this stimulated biofuel import flows, neither foreseen nor intended by Swedish policy makers. These unintentional effects of policy can, however, be positive when viewed in a wider context as they lead to the development of biomass production and logistics in countries where current demand for bioenergy is low.
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