Local Production and Local Consumption of Biomass
Biomass energy can be used directly by end users or as an energy resource in production activities like power stations or other centralized energy supply facilities. It plays a vital role in low-carbon development in rural and urban areas of Asia.
Firewood and charcoal are primary energy resources used by households for cooking and hot water supply in many Asian countries. Their use causes serious health problems. Hence, improving living environments is an important associated issue for biomass use while achieving low-carbon development.
Using biomass energy as a major energy source in low-carbon Asia is ordained on establishing sustainable biomass production and utilization systems that avoid conflict with food production and forest conservation and promoting the consumption of these biomass resources locally. The installation of such energy supply systems using woody biomass, waste, and animal biomass in rural agricultural communities having plentiful biomass resources will enhance the supply of low-carbon energy, besides improving the standard of living.
For promoting the utilization of biomass in Asia, governments need to implement land use regulations and other policies that prevent conflict among “food, forest, and fuel.”
Phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies is one policy which can immediately enhance competitiveness of biomass energy. In addition to supply-side policies, there are policies and measures that encourage citizens to follow sustainable land use and forest management practices that enhance biomass production and food production, minimize harvesting of forest biomass, and prompt agro-industry to make innovations of commercial biomass resources that do not compete with food production.
Since biomass production and use are dispersed, the global-scale research and development of biomass energy resources and conversion technologies, and the transfer of technology and the best practices, is very vital to develop the supply push ahead of the development of the global biomass market. In addition, the preferential support to biomass energy through carbon finance instruments, including the carbon credits, is key to promote demand-side pull from the energy market. In these contexts, the industry can play a central role in research and development, and the government's policies and programs could support the widespread adoption of such advanced biomass resources and technologies.