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Activities and results of the task 3.4 – Sub-regional policy showcases


Work package 3 - Biomass resources - Forestry

Jul 01, 2011

Activities and results of the task 3.4 – Sub-regional policy showcases

Task 3.4 is led by the University of Rostock. The main steps include the selection of policy showcases from eight BSR countries illustrating how sustainability principles and criteria can be integrated into regional and municipal policy frameworks. The Bioenergy Promotion newsletters present a number of showcases in more detail.

Presently a Policy guidance paper is being prepared titled Promoting Sustainable Bioenergy Production and Consumption on a Local Level - Good Practice Policy Showcases and Policy Lessons Learned. It provides findings from the policy showcases on how bioenergy production and consumption can be promoted on a local level in a largely sustainable way. Special emphasis is given to the integration of sustainability criteria for bioenergy production into regional and municipal activities and recommendations for the planning and implementation of future bioenergy promotional policies and projects.

Read the project newsletters >>

Task 3.4 Supplementary activity: Wood biomass for bioenergy assessment methodology


A specific subtask only formally linked to Task 3.4 is coordinated by the Swedish Forest Agency and aims at investigating pathways to improve national statistics on wood energy production in Sweden, especially concerning such biomass that is harvested with the primary aims to produce energy or to clear or thin the land area for site-related reasons where the biomass removed is used for energy production. For example, such site-related purposes could be to improving growth in valuable stems (cleaning, thinning), preserving rare species, restoring landscape values, improving sight and avoiding moisture along roads or avoiding problems from storm-felled trees. Most of the bioenergy used today in Sweden is produced from residual products from stems primarily harvested for delivery to pulp mills and sawmills (bark, sawdust, low-quality wood pieces, lignin in black liquor, etc.). Also imported roundwood contributes to such residual product bioenergy.

For several years, an annual investigation has been performed in cooperation with Svenska trädbränsleföreningen (the Swedish wood fuel association), reaching almost all deliverers of chipped and not-yet chipped fuels extracted from Swedish forests and agriculture land. Moreover, annual enquiries are made to forest owner concerning, among other things, how much energy-wood they sell. All large forest owners are questioned (companies, the company managing the state-owned forest, the church, communities, large-scale private owners, etc) as well as an estate-size-weighted sample of smaller private owners.

However, according to numbers received from forest owners, the amount of biomass harvested/extracted for direct energy production is less than half of the estimation gained from the collection of data from delivering companies/entities (when double-counting because of internal selling/buying has been subtracted). There are several possible reasons for this discrepancy. Two major reasons could be that 1) forest owners forget they sold certain quantities, especially those for which they get no specific quantity information afterwards, and 2) certain quantities end up as energy although they were sold as pulp-wood. The significance of those and other reasons for the discrepancy will be investigated further in this project. 

Concerning annual harvest/extraction of biomass from agriculture land for energy production, statistics are currently being developed by the Swedish Board of Agriculture. 

The hypothesis that significant quantities of fuels originate from other land types than forest or agriculture is also being investigated in the subtask. So far it is concluded that parks (separated from forest by the definition that the field vegetation is being managed) cover less than 10,000 ha in the country and its contribution can therefore not be significant. After the great storm-felling in 2005, the authority managing the railway has performed a project in which trees are being removed from (and forest land are bought) within tree length distance from the rail. The wood fuels generated here, as well as the annual potential from this and from road-side clearings will be estimated further on.  Moreover, there are questions related to import and export that need answers.

Finally, this subtask shall suggest ways to improve the present data gathering for production of wood energy statistics. Hence, it can be considered a valuable contribution to comply with the EU Commission’s recommendation that Member States shall keep records of the origin of biomass used in electricity, heating and cooling installations of 1MW or above, helping to improve statistics on biomass use and monitor the effects of biomass use on the areas of origin (cf. EU Commission’s Report on sustainability requirements for the use of solid and gaseous biomass sources in electricity, heating and cooling COM(2010)11).