Bioenergy adoption barriers across 7 EU countries : A comparison of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom
Sammanfattning: Europe is trying to switch away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy. Bioenergy is well positioned to play a large role in this. However, bioenergy as a share of total energy used differs substantially between European countries. What causes these differences and what the barriers are to bioenergy implementation is researched in this thesis for seven EU countries: Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the UK. The systemic barriers to bioenergy implementation are categorised in the five categories, infrastructure, market problems, interactions, institutions, and capabilities. A literature review gives the first insight into the barriers, which is then followed by ananalysis of current policy in the seven countries. Afterwards, industry specialists are interviewed from five of the seven countries. The interviews mainly took place by email. However, one was over the phone. A semi-structured approach was used in the interviews. Lastly, voting behaviour of MEPs and the influence of the oil industry are analysed. This was done by using the Forbes most valuable companies list and ranking the biggest European oil and gas companies. These were then compared to the voting behaviour by members of the EU parliament of the countries where the companies are domiciled. The results show no systemic barriers for Denmark and Sweden. In every country a different set of problems was in the way of bioenergy. Negative public opinion may start playing an increasing role in the implementation of bioenergy in western European countries, such as the Netherlands and Germany. Currently, the UK and Belgium have policy barriers to bioenergy implementation, while France’s bioenergy sector struggles with infrastructure, market and capability problems. Germany also suffers from market problems. The oil industry does not seem to influence the behaviour of politicians significantly concerning bioenergy. Politicians from countries with large oil industry did not vote morenegatively on bioenergy directives in the EU parliament than those from countries without a large oil industry. Moreover, the public opinion towards bioenergy can have large effects on the implementation, as was observed in the Netherlands. Where this negative public opinion on bioenergy comes from is not clear. No final conclusion can be drawn on what causes the difference in bioenergy adoption in the seven countries. More research is needed into what influences the public opinion in these countries concerning bioenergy.
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