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The Good, the Bad and the Uncertain: Bioenergy Use in the European Union

George Philippidis, Heleen Bartelings (), John Helming (), Robert M’barek, Edward Smeets () and Hans Van Meijl ()
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Heleen Bartelings: Wageningen Economic Research, Wageningen University and Research, Alexanderveld 5, 2585 The Hague, The Netherlands
John Helming: Wageningen Economic Research, Wageningen University and Research, Alexanderveld 5, 2585 The Hague, The Netherlands
Robert M’barek: Joint Research Centre, European Commission, 41092 Seville, Spain
Edward Smeets: Wageningen Economic Research, Wageningen University and Research, Alexanderveld 5, 2585 The Hague, The Netherlands
Hans Van Meijl: Wageningen Economic Research, Wageningen University and Research, Alexanderveld 5, 2585 The Hague, The Netherlands

Energies, 2018, vol. 11, issue 10, 1-19

Abstract: As the EU is moving towards a low carbon economy and seeks to further develop its renewable energy policy, this paper quantitatively investigates the impact of plausible energy market reforms from the perspective of bio-renewables. Employing a state-of-the-art biobased variant of a computable general equilibrium model, this study assesses the perceived medium-term benefits, risks and trade-offs which arise from an advanced biofuels plan, two exploratory scenarios of a more ‘sustainable’ conventional biofuels plan and a ‘no-mandate’ scenario. Consistent with more recent studies, none of the scenarios considered present significant challenges to EU food-security or agricultural land usage. An illustrative advanced biofuels plan simulation requires non-trivial public support to implement whilst a degree of competition for biomass with (high-value) advanced biomass material industries is observed. On the other hand, it significantly alleviates land use pressures, whilst lignocellulose biomass prices are not expected to increase to unsustainable levels. Clearly, these observations are subject to assumptions on technological change, sustainable biomass limits, expected trends in fossil fuel prices and EU access to third-country trade. With these same caveats in mind, the switch to increased bioethanol production does not result in significant market tensions in biomass markets.

Keywords: biomass; bio-energy; bio-chemicals; advanced technologies; agricultural production; trade; land use; economic modelling; MAGNET model (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q4 Q40 Q41 Q42 Q43 Q47 Q48 Q49 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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