The Development of Biomass Energy in China

04 May 2016 | United Nations Development Programme – China News Release

April 22, Beijing – To correspond with Earth Day 2016, a roundtable discussion on the challenges in developing biomass energy in China was hosted at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) China. Mr. Patrick Havermen, UNDP Deputy Country Director, discussed the problems and potential solutions with biomass experts from research institutes and academia.

As the world largest energy consumer and biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, China is one of the most vulnerable countries towards the impact of climate change. For a country such as China, which is experiencing rapid economic growth, better utilization of clean energy will reduce its dependency on imported fuels, in turn protecting the environment. Biomass, a clean and carbon-neutral energy source, can play a vital role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.

However, the development of biomass energy still faces great challenges, “biomass development entails too many governmental agencies and the coordination among them poses many challenges”, noted Mr. Shi Jingli, Director of Policy Research Division of National Renewable Energy Center.

Professor Zhang Caihong, from Beijing Forest University, also emphasized the problems of the immature biomass business model, “There is no robust commercialization for biomass energy development and enterprises and a lack of systematic planning to fully incorporate into policies, technologies and local social contexts.”

Suggestions to solve the existing problems were proposed during the meeting. It was suggested that it is important to raise awareness with state leaders and help promote the industry’s development from the top. Regarding the commercialization of biomass energy, it was recommended that sound business models that support with comprehensive analysis and also accommodate the problems and demands on the ground, should be developed and promoted. In addition, farmers as the key provider of raw materials (straw) should be mobilized through establishing the farmer’s cooperative and business model. This will create a transparent and fair system which would be beneficial to link poverty alleviation with biomass energy development.

UNDP China has been working with Wuhan Kaidi Electric Power Co., Ltd. and China International Center for Economic and Technical Exchanges (CICETE) on the Sustainable Biomass Energy Development in China Project since 2015, which aims to explore the sustainable model of a biomass-supply system, while developing the capacity of local farmers in a relatively poor sugarcane farming area of south-west China. The roundtable discussion and follow-up research, alongside the project will help promote the development of biomass in China and help realize the wide adaptation of the renewable energy.

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