May 29, 2012, Jonkoping, Sweden - Governments must stop subsidising fossil fuels if the global bioenergy industry is to grow, according to Swedish bioenergy association Svebio.
Bioenergy still has to compete with other fuels as people will continue to use whatever is cheapest, despite the threat of climate change and fossil fuel security, Svebio president Gustav Melin said at the World Bioenergy conference in Jonkoping, Sweden.
“Globally, governments are spending $500bn/yr on fossil fuel production,” Melin said. “This is hindering renewables development. It is especially difficult in countries where they have fixed energy prices for consumers, as if prices rise then the government has to subsidise fossil fuels even more.”
Sweden implements a “polluter pays principle” with sulphur, nitrogen and carbon emissions, according to Melin.
“It is one of the most important reasons that Sweden has achieved one-third bioenergy in its energy mix,” Melin said. “The carbon tax is important to make emitting fuels more expensive.”
Another important factor to help the bioenergy market is to make use of district heating networks, utilising waste heat from biomass-fired power plants to heat homes.
“Using waste heat from biomass combined heat and power plants costs €11-40/MWh in Sweden, which can be around a third of the cost of using heating oil to heat the home,” Melin said.
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