International Biomass Production and Policies in Leading Nations
Proceedings, 23rd European Biomass Conference, Vienna Austria, June 2015
5 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2016
Date Written: September 26, 2015
Although solar and wind energy are most frequently cited in popular media and scholarly reports, biomass is the greatest current source of total renewable energy for the United States, as well as other leading nations. Top nations for total biomass production in 2012 were China, followed by the U.S. and Brazil. Federal government programs have given the U.S. leadership in ethanol production. However, environmentalists are critical of ethanol produced from corn. U.S. cellulosic ethanol production was initiated in 2014 but remains far behind targeted levels.
Forest and wood products are prominent energy resources for Sweden and Finland, which lead in biomass production per capita.
Germany is the international leader in renewable energy policy. Its feed-in tariff (FIT), initiated in 1991 for an initial 20-year period, provided the stimulus for Germany’s success in fostering growth of diverse renewable energies, including solar and wind energy, and biogas. The FIT is a widely used policy, including in China and Japan and some U.S. states but has not been employed by the U.S. federal government. Commitment, cooperation, and stable national and European policies have fostered biomass energy development in Europe. However, despite large potentials, minimal increase in U.S. biomass production other than corn-based ethanol is attributable to policy conflicts and a complex regulatory environment.
Keywords: biomass production, biofuel, international rankings, policies, renewable energy, pellets
JEL Classification: N50, N55, O13, O32, O38, Q20, Q23, Q28, Q42, Q48
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