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Exploiting the Medium Term Biomass Energy Potentials in Austria: A Comparison of Costs and Macroeconomic Impact

Karl Steininger () and Herbert Voraberger

Environmental & Resource Economics, 2003, vol. 24, issue 4, 359-377

Abstract: The transition to an implicitly solar-basedenergy system can make use of various specificbiomass energy systems. This paper provideseconomic and environmental indicators forevaluating alternative options.The paper proceeds in three empirical steps.First, an expert survey supplies the primarybiomass potentials available for non-food usein Austria and their respective costs. Second,an inquiry into investment, operating andfinancing costs of 30 different biomass energyuse systems allows a standardized comparisonamong them and their relationship to fossilreference technologies. Third, a computablegeneral equilibrium model of the Austrianeconomy is employed to quantify the impacts offostering the use of distinct biomass energytechnologies.The results allow us to distinguish betweenthose technologies that tend to lead to anincrease in both GDP and employment (e.g.,combined heat and power production from sewagesludge biogas), to an increase only inemployment, while GDP tends to diminish (e.g.,district heating based on agricultural pellets)or to a decline in both (e.g., co-firing basedon wood-chips, bark or industrial pellets).Individual technologies could account for up toone third of Austrias Kyoto obligation, whilecombinations of technologies, triggered by acombined CO 2 tax and biomass energysubsidy for example, could almost fully lead toAustrian Kyoto-compliance. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Keywords: biomass energy; biomass energy and employment; CO 2 -policy; Kyoto-policy; renewable energy; sustainable energy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2003
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DOI: 10.1023/A:1023680125027

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