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FAO/UNEP/UN-Energy Bioenergy Decision Support Tool -
MODULE 2: Designing a Strategy
food-energy systems (IFES) offers another way of achieving
multiple objectives by maximizing food and energy outputs
while minimizing waste and negative environmental impacts by
transforming by-products of food production into feedstock for
<Mod7-Deployment and Good Practices>
In this way,
bioenergy meets several different policy objectives at the local
The bioenergy strategy should converge on some basic
conclusions as to the role of bioenergy within the energy portfolio
and as an instrument for economic development, climate policy
and other national or regional priorities. The strategy should
include some type of answer, appropriately embedded in the
national and regional context, to the basic question: Why
Bioenergy? The step of setting priorities leads towards the next
stages of the strategy process in order to focus on particular
establish specifc options
appropriate locations
and establish the means and
methods for implementation
There should be some tangible outputs of the priority-setting
phase of the strategy, in order to create targets and action items,
which will require follow-up in order to meet the basic objectives.
Some of these tangible outputs could include the following:
Climate Portfolio:
an indication of the basic role for bioenergy
to support climate policy;
Energy Mix:
some indication of the future energy mix and how
it may be transformed over time as a result of the bioenergy
Legislative Actions:
a synopsis of new laws and/or modif-
cations to existing laws that may be needed to implement a
bioenergy strategy; due to the lengthy legislative process, the
ideas must be initiated early even though the fnal shape of
such legislation is determined from the modes of implemen-
tation that are decided at a later stage of the bioenergy
Bioenergy Targets:
specifc bioenergy targets may be set
based on an evaluation of sector options and applications; a
bottom-up end-use assessment can later be used to refne
the targets based on technical feasibility and sustainability
It should be noted that setting specifc bioenergy targets or
climate goals related to bioenergy cannot normally be done at the
earliest stage when policy objectives are being laid out; instead,
the basic outline of such goals can be developed and they can
be refned and specifed once the later stages of the bioenergy
strategy (especially
) are completed.
Which? – Sectors and Applications
Setting priorities for bioenergy in relation to the policy objectives
has some immediate implications for which demand sectors,
applications and fuels will be emphasised; it is thus important
to evaluate energy demand across the different sectors and
to consider differences and relationships across the demand
sectors and applications or end-uses
Depending on the scale of energy demand in the country/
region, a reliance on wastes and residues for bioenergy may be
signifcant in assessing the choice of sectors and applications
There can be a tendency to focus the strategy on those areas that
attract foreign investors, namely transport fuels and heat & power
provision, while the traditional biomass sector and small-scale
uses receive less attention due to their domestic focus. In order
for bioenergy strategies to support development and poverty
reduction goals, there must be greater emphasis on agriculture
and also on the opportunities to upgrade energy services in the
household and small commercial sectors.
The bioenergy strategy needs to consider the end-uses or
energy services that will be prioritised as a result of policy goals
in combination with the availability of infrastructure and support
services for various technology platforms. Some end-use priorities
will emerge quickly due to resource endowments. For example,
signifcant forest resources may lead to some emphasis on the
heat and power sector, since woody sources have more uniform
properties and lower cost of preparation and handling than
agricultural sources. The presence of signifcant wood products
industries, forested areas and areas suitable for wood plantations
can then be explored in detail when conducting land suitability
assessments. An end-use perspective facilitates greater effciency
in the use of the biomass resource base, by matching the
exploitation of biomass to energy demand and improving fexibility
in sector applications
<Resource Effciency>.
Although this DST is focused more on modern bioenergy, it is
also important to fag the relationship between changes in the
traditional biomass sector and the opportunities for developing
other sectors and applications. If major programmes on stove
effciency are being undertaken nationally or regionally, then there
could be greater availability of woody biomass for other (modern)
uses in the future; a modern bioenergy strategy could thus be
linked to the local implementation of the traditional biomass or
improved stoves programmes in order to tap available biomass
sources in a more sustainable way. One methodological example
for evaluating such cross-sectoral issues is the use of GIS tools
to compare sustainable supply in relation to household demand
for woody biomass using the WISDOM model
<Mod9-Tools and
Resources: FAO/WISDOM>
; the analysis can show where there
is a sustainable surplus of biomass for other sectors (FAO, 2010).
Similar questions might be posed and analyses constructed for
the relation across other end-use sectors, as a way of weighing or
comparing options.
A key question that impacts the long-term sustainability of a
bioenergy strategy is the extent to which biomass is being
directed towards those sectors and end-uses that are most
effcient, i.e. those with high conversion effciency and/or high
energy yields in relation to key inputs. Cogeneration of heat
and electricity is widely recognised as a highly effcient use of
biomass; the conversion effciency can be as high as 85%,
whereas the equivalent values for liquid biofuels are often much
lower. Electricity as a higher quality energy carrier also brings
greater fexibility for use across different sectors (UNEP, 2009); by
comparison, liquid biofuels will be limited to transport along with
some potential minor uses in household cooking or small-scale
At the same time, high resource effciency can only be realised
where markets for such applications can develop. LDCs are