Global energy supply will face significant challenges over the next century. These include ensuring security of energy supply, greenhouse gas concentration stabilisation in the atmosphere to levels that will limit damage from climate change, reducing other negative impacts of energy supply on the environment, and providing access to energy to the world’s poor.
Biomass contributes about 10% of world primary energy supply, predominantly as traditional fuels for cooking and heating. In industrialised countries, the biomass contribution is in the range of 2-4%. There is significant potential to increase its contribution for the provision of heat, electricity and transport fuels. Furthermore, biomass can contribute to addressing the challenges facing energy supply and can be accompanied by other socio-economic benefits. However, the deployment of bioenergy faces technical, economic, social and regulatory barriers, and the bioenergy sector and related policies and markets are still at an early stage of development.
A number of international activities are already at work to assist the development and deployment of bioenergy in developed and developing countries, but additional action at the international level is needed to accelerate the expansion of sustainable bioenergy. This was recognised by the G8 Leaders in Gleneagles Communiqué endorsing the launch of a Global Bioenergy Partnership to support wider, cost effective biomass and biofuels deployment, particularly in developing countries.
The objective of this White Paper is to discuss how the Global Bioenergy Partnership could contribute to the development and deployment of bioenergy in developed and developing countries, based on a review of the barriers facing bioenergy, existing international activities directed at bioenergy development and deployment, and the identification of areas of action where it is believed that a Partnership could add value.
The White Paper identifies fives areas where the Partnership could have an important role:
• Supporting national and regional bioenergy policymaking;
• Facilitating international cooperation in bioenergy;
• Promoting development of bioenergy projects and markets;
• Supporting biomass feedstock supply through information and research;
• Encouraging development and transfer of biomass conversion technologies.
In each of these areas, the Partnership role could include activities such as:
• Political engagement and promotion of bioenergy;
• Integration and leverage of international activities;
• Exchange of information, knowledge, skills and technologies;
• Facilitation of bioenergy integration into energy markets e.g. through activities related to
standards, certification, international trade, etc.;
• Promotion of RD&D and market-building activities.