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5 years ago

BIOENERGY FOR EUROPE: WHICH ONES FIT BEST?

BIOENERGY FOR EUROPE: WHICH ONES FIT BEST?

5 Socio-economic and

5 Socio-economic and political analyses The environmental analysis is the central part of this study. But of course, the actual implementation of bioenergy depends on other factors too. What are the economic costs and benefits of bioenergy? How will the public respond to changes in the landscape due to energy crops? Particularly important for many rural areas: will bioenergy lead to extra employment? What is the view of environmental and nature organisations? And last but not least: which policies do national governments and the European Commission have? The purpose of this chapter is to complement the findings resulting from the environmental analysis. Its function is to show support, or lack of it, for the results of the environmental analysis, from a socio-economic and political point of view. The points of discussion and the institutions and laws mentioned here are to be taken as examples. It must be particularly emphasised that this is not a comprehensive analysis, as this would by far exceed the scope of this project. 5.1 Methodology and data generation The methodology followed falls into three parts. The first part on socio-economic effects is mainly quantitative. For the cost calculation the same input and yield figures are used as have been used in the environmental analysis (chapter 4), supplemented with price data from the literature. The second and third parts are qualitative and contain effects on landscape and an impression of policy and political arguments by each country in favour of or against certain biofuel chains. I Socio-economic aspects All items for which data have been collected for each chain can be found in the annex (see Annex 7.5). The results reported in Chapter 5.2 may be summarised as follows: • Costs of farm activities: This factor was successfully assessed for the various biofuel systems. (The costs of transport, pre-conversion, conversion, logistics and end-use were collected by the participants of the project too. However, there was a large variation between the countries, which could not be explained within the time frame of the project. As these data could not be validated, they are not included in this report. Therefore, also a comparison between biofuels and fossil fuels proved to be beyond the scope of the present project.) • Employment: A large labour requirement is a positive asset when the labour is remunerated with at least a minimum remuneration per labour day. For an estimation of employment effects, extra data had to be gathered. A valuation has been made of the effects of introducing biofuels on employment for a selected number of chains, of which information was already available. II Visual impact of landscape changes A full ‘scientific’ assessment of the impact of energy crops on the landscape would take years. Therefore, a simple procedure that requires no field trials has been carried out regarding the effect of bioenergy production on the aesthetic, visual quality of the landscape, with special attention to the variation of structure and colour in the landscape (Biewinga and Van der Bijl 1996). • Effects on the variation of structure: Important characteristics for this criterion are the height and density of the crop in relation to other crops in the area. Crops that lead to greater variation in the structure will have a positive visual impact, provided the introduction of that crop does not affect the landscape type, e. g. the openness of the landscape. • Effects on the variation of colour: Crops with colours that vary from the existing crops or with a large variety of colours will enhance the landscape value and thus receive a positive evaluation. Both parameters were assessed by the country representatives who investigated the respective biofuels. This was done by means of expert judgements based on professional knowledge and experience as well as communication with other authorities where relevant. The main results of the analysis are shown in Chapter 5.3.

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