Nordic bioenergy use on the increase

Conference demonstrates optimism of renewable energy industry in the region

The five Nordic countries now produce 180 TWh (650 PJ) of bioenergy annually, and the exploitable potential is probably twice that figure, according to the organisers of a two-day conference that ended in the Norwegian capital Oslo yesterday.

More than 300 delegates attended the conference, the largest of three to be held in various Nordic capitals since 1990, in an atmosphere described by the organisers - who included the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy and the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Administration (NVE) - as "positive and inspiring".

Increasing political opposition to the use of fossil fuels, combined with rising market prices for conventional energy, have strengthened the market for bioenergy - even as technological development has made bioenergy systems more user-friendly and cost-effective - the delegates were told.

"In this context, biomass from agriculture, forestry and waste treatment represent important, local renewable energy resources," according to the Norwegian Bioenergy Association (NoBio).

Arnold Martinsen, head of NoBio, told ENDS Daily: "The Swedes are especially keen on bioenergy in view of their decision to phase out nuclear power - the first closures of which will probably start next year. They have allocated SKr9bn (Ecu1bn) for renewables, mainly gasification of wood fuels."

Other topics covered at the conference included bioenergy and global climate policy, biological diversity, and recent improvements in incineration and ash-recycling technologies.

Follow Up:
Norwegian Bioenergy Association, tel: +47 22 59 82 20.

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