A report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has predicted that biomass could represent 60 percent of global renewable energy usage by 2030 if its full potential is realised – 40 percent of which would come from agricultural residues and waste.
The report also found that by 2030 biomass could even provide 20 percent of global electricity.
IRENA says that biomass is an essential part of any country’s renewable energy portfolio and can provide a reliable source of energy when less reliable sources, such as wind and solar, fall short.
Despite IRENA hailing biomass energy as essential, many environmentalists have expressed apprehension that energy crops will take up land needed for consumable food, which may lead to a spike in food prices. Extensive deforestation and higher carbon emissions are also a concern.
Dolf Gielen, IRENA – “Sustainably sourced biomass, such as residues, and the use of more efficient technology and processes can shift biomass energy production from traditional to modern and sustainable forms, simultaneously reducing air pollution and saving lives”
IRENA has predicted, however, that 40 percent of the global biomass supply would come from agricultural residues and waste as well as “sustainable forestry products”.
“Sustainable bioenergy has the potential to be a game-changer in the global energy mix,” Dolf Gielen, IRENA director of innovation and technology, said.
“Sustainably sourced biomass, such as residues, and the use of more efficient technology and processes can shift biomass energy production from traditional to modern and sustainable forms, simultaneously reducing air pollution and saving lives.”
Biomass produced seven percent of the UK’s energy in Q2 2014.
“It’s vital that we get more flexible biomass generation into our low carbon power supply as well as more wind,” Dr Nina Skorupska, chief executive of the Renewable Energy Agency, said. “Biomass has reached a new record, but this valuable growth won’t continue unless the Government puts supportive policies in place.”
The full report can be found here