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FAO/UNEP/UN-Energy Bioenergy Decision Support Tool -
MODULE 4: Project Screening
funding, there will generally be specifc formats for the project
Evaluating Compatibility with
Bioenergy Strategy
NOTE: this section is mainly applicable if some type of bioenergy
strategy already exists
It is important to consider the relation of the proposed project to
the bioenergy strategy if such a strategy exists. When a strategy
does not exist, a major bioenergy project proposal can provide an
opportunity to kick-start such a strategy by illustrating institutional
capacity needs and moving towards a more structured process
for setting priorities in stimulating bioenergy market development.
An evaluation of the project’s relation to the strategy can include
the following steps/questions:
• What policy objectives does the project address?
• Does the project ft with priorities established across different
Is the project located in an appropriate area or region where
bioenergy development is or can be targeted?
• Will the project use feedstocks and/or technology platforms
emphasised in the strategy?
• Can the project use ownership or contractual structures
promoted via the strategy?
If necessary, what adjustments to the project would make it
compatible with the strategy?
The questions/issues are discussed briefy below. In general,
one looks for elements in the strategy and the project that can
reinforce each other in some way. Where this is not the case,
there may be other elements of the project that compensate.
The project can be assessed in relation to policy objectives that
emerged in the bioenergy strategy. Nearly all bioenergy projects
will address multiple policy objectives to varying degrees; indeed,
part of the value of bioenergy over other renewable energy
sources is precisely that there are potential co-benefts beyond
a primary objective such as improving energy access. Within
the strategy design process, priorities will have been established
and in some cases specifc targets or measures have been
chosen to address those priorities and track their progress
It is important to relate the project wherever
possible to some concrete elements of the strategy, since the
broad policy goals (e.g. energy security, rural development) will
often have already been translated into more tangible priorities
and/or measurable goals
If bioenergy targets
have been set, for example, then the project might be assessed
in relation to those targets, assuming that the project is of
suffcient scale to make a comparison appropriate.
The project should be compatible with the strategy in terms of
which sectors and applications have been established as priori-
ties for bioenergy expansion; such priorities would generally have
been the result of detailed analysis on demand baselines and the
linkages across different sectors. A few basic questions can be
posed in this regard, as summarised in Figure 3.
There is a common distinction between “hard” or physical
infrastructure and “soft” infrastructure in relation to a project or
programme; “soft” infrastructure relates to the social, economic,
cultural and institutional support needed for a project to be
successful, including basic services such as education/training
and health. In order for a project to be compatible with the
strategy, there should generally be either a direct relation to sector
priorities or some type of linkage in relation to infrastructure. In the
case of medium or large-scale biofuels on agricultural or pasture
land, one approach that has been proposed in some cases relies
on “project clustering,” which serves the purpose of economising
on infrastructure, transportation and distribution costs as well as
addressing soft infrastructure concerns such as labour availability
and health services
<Mod7-Deployment and Good Practice>.
The cross-sector linkages will require special effort from the task
force and also improved communications across ministries and
departments; the lack of communication across government
agencies or units can be a barrier to integrating infrastructure
and resource development plans with relevant projects and
Another key concern in evaluating the project with respect to
sector priorities is that of how to take advantage of shifts in the
availability of biomass resources based on cross-sector linkages.
For example, where the traditional biomass sector is already
being reformed through fuel-switching or effcient cookstoves,
the additional woody biomass that is freed up (i.e. due to the
reduced demand associated with greater effciency) might usefully
be integrated into small or medium-scale bioenergy production
for heat and power. Linking a new bioenergy project on heat
If ‘NO’
Does the project
focus follow directly
from sector priorities
in the strategy?
Use the strategy to
identify supporting
mechanisms for
assessing and
implementing the project
Use the strategy to
improve application of
common infrastructure
Does the project have
“hard infrastructure”
linkages to the sector
priorities in the strategy?
If ‘NO’
If ‘YES’
If ‘YES’
Use the strategy to
evaluate common
labour requirements
social services and
economic linkages
If ‘YES’
Does the project have
“soft infrastructure”
linkages to the sector
priorities in the strategy?
If ‘NO’
Articulate more clearly
how the project can be
modified to be more
consistant or compatible
with the strategy
Figure 3: Assessing the relation of the project to priorities in the bioenergy strategy