Innovations in biomass energy for renewable local energy provision and legitimate income generation

Project
Archived
January 2010 to December 2012

This project explores how to optimise the contribution of woody biomass to renewable energy provision and legitimate commercial income generation.

This project explores how to optimise the contribution of woody biomass to renewable energy provision and legitimate commercial income generation – given its comparative advantages as the predominant form of rural energy in most least developed countries, usually widely available at all times, increasingly convertible into all major energy forms (liquid, gas, heat and electricity), readily carbon neutral or even a carbon sink, with the potential to restore unproductive degraded lands and enhance agricultural productivity.

Background

Recent Forest Team strategic reviews in association with Southern partners have identified the increasing importance of energy security as an issue -and the contribution that good forest governance can make towards that end. IIED has solid past work experience with partners on policy and practice issues associated with biomass energy (fuel wood, charcoal and liquid biofuels).

The intention of this project is to provide space to explore the literature and scope with partners in three countries the technological, market and political economy drivers that encourage or constrain the use of biomass as a renewable energy source and an opportunity for local income generation. The project will assemble knowledge on recent innovations or established best practice in the supply of biomass and biofuels both on the technological and business side.
 

Project objectives

The aims of this project are:

• To develop a short scoping study / opinion piece on biomass and biofuels for renewable local energy provision and income generation.

• To explore with partners on the current technological, market and political economy drivers that encourage or constrain the use of woody biomass as a renewable energy source and legitimate local income generating opportunity.

• To assemble assemble knowledge on recent innovations or established best practice in the supply of biomass and biofuels both on the technological and business side.

• To develop with partners biomass energy strategies that better secure rights, enhance legitimate enterprise options and contribute to climate mitigation and adaptation forestry.

IIED published several reports as part part of this project aiming to develop a South-South-North partnership to reshape the impact of a predicted large-scale expansion in global biomass energy use towards greater poverty reduction and maintenance of ecosystem services in developing countries.

Few energy planners, development banks and policy makers treat biomass as a legitimate form of energy, despite it being the principal source of energy in developing countries and regardless of its importance in their economies, especially the household, industrial and service sectors. A principal cause of global warming is the increased use of fossil fuels. And the recent dramatic price rises in fossil fuels make them a volatile and insecure energy source. Therefore, rather than promoting energy policies based on fossil fuels, improving end-use efficiency, encouraging conservation and making renewable biomass more convenient are the most sensible strategies to pursue. Read more...

Biomass energy forms an important part of the UK renewable energy portfolio in helping to achieve national carbon reductions. In 2007, it made up three per cent of the total UK energy supply and this figure is set to rise, with biomass energy due to make up just under a third of the 2020 UK renewable energy target. There are many lessons that can be drawn from the UK for application in developing countries; such as the wide variety of employment opportunities offered through biomass energy, the importance of sufficient support for sustainable supply chain development, the need for good government coordination, and finally, the development of a coherent biomass strategy. Read more... 

Additional resources

Resources

Biomass energy use in Kenya, Mugo, F. and Gathui, T. (2010)
A background paper prepared for the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) for an international ESPA workshop on biomass energy, 19-21 October 2010, Parliament House Hotel, Edinburgh. Practical Action, Nairobi, Kenya.

Mapping out global biomass projections, technological developments and policy innovations, Black, M. and Richter, G.M. (2010)
A background paper prepared for the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) for an international ESPA workshop on biomass energy, 19-21 October 2010, Parliament House Hotel, Edinburgh.

Bioenergy in India, TERI (2010)
A background paper prepared for the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) for an international ESPA workshop on biomass energy, 19-21 October 2010, Parliament House Hotel, Edinburgh. TERI, New Dehli, India.

Donors

DANIDA, DGIS and NORAD

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