Bioenergy and regional development in the Nordic Countries

Jun 2008

The aim of the study is to provide a preliminary overview of the potential for the sustainable production of biomass and bioenergy, and an analysis of their possible regional impacts in the Nordic countries.
Which Nordic regions are more suitable for biomass- and bioenergy production? Which bioenergy alternatives are likely to be more sustainable and what are the likely social and environmental consequences of the expansion of an increase in bioenergy production? These are the central questions this study will attempt to address.
This study was undertaken by means of two key activities; firstly a GIS-based overview of the distribution of the biomass potential of grain and oilseed crops in the Nordic Regions was carried out by the Faculty of Landscape Management and Nature Conservation at the University of Applied Sciences in Eberswalde, and this was followed by a social impact assessment based on previous studies of bioenergy in addition to assessments of the impact of similarly expanding agricultural and industrial activities in the Nordic regions.
The geographical extension in this study covers only Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden referred to here as “the Nordic countries”. Being also part of the Nordic region, Iceland and two of Nordic countries’ associated territories; the Faroe Islands and Greenland were not included due to time and resource limitations connected to the project. The study does not cover specific market conditions or the economic incentives for bioenergy. Instead, it focuses in the main on the regional social and environmental impacts of different bioenergy and feedstock production and on the various transformation and conversion technologies and production scale approaches.
Details of energy balances or the design, engineering and operation of biomass cultivation and bioenergy conversion technologies presented here are not discussed in detail.

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By: P. G. Lindblom, R. O. Rasmussen (Nordregio)