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The Need For Regulatory Framework In The Bio-Energy Field

Bio-energy is a sustainable form of energy supply in contrast to chemical and unrenewable energy. However, the rising interest and demand for bio-energy may put a lot of pressure on Earth’s resources. Bio-energy is comprised of biomass deployments, namely: biofuels, biobased products, biomass feedstock, biomass in land use. As the scope of impact of the bio-energy sector is very wide and has an impact on many ecosystems, lack of balance in this field may most probably result in some negative repercussions. Without proper regulatory framework nature’s resources may be used up too quickly to renew. What is more extensive biomass production leads to greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, the quickly developing fields like biofuel need regulations that will ensure its efficient use.

The Production Of Renewable Electricity And Heat

The production of renewable electricity and heat is achieved by the release of energy stored in biomass. Ethanol from corn and sugarcane, and biodiesel from soy, rapeseed, and oil palm are the main food-based biofuels used as alternatives for petroleum products. Furthermore, non-food fuels, made from municipal waste, algae, perennial grasses, and wood chips, are influencing the bio-fuel market. Biomass feedstocks are mainly a concern of local agriculture, forest, and urban sources. To be taken into consideration is the stress put on land use. Therefore the direct relationship with farms, forests, and other ecosystems, from which biomass is obtained.

How To Create A Regulatory Framework For Bio-Energy

Before creating an appropriate regulatory framework considering bio-energy, the country has to assess the areas impacted by bio-energy. The affected spheres of the economy may be divided into the following: natural resource management, social issues, trade, and investment. Natural resource management refers to the implications of uses of biomass on environmental sustainability.

Conducting A Detail Assessment To Ensure A Balanced Use Of Biomass

A detailed assessment has to be conducted to examine a balanced use of biomass in a given geographical region. Such frameworks are aimed to promote environmental protection and conservation. As far as social issues are concerned a careful regulatory approach is also needed. Although biofuels production may be an opportunity for new jobs and higher wages, rural labor may not experience any positive effects. In addition, large-scale biofuel production can contribute to poor working conditions with health and safety risks, child labor, or forced labor, which is the case in some developing countries.

Regulatory Framework Protecting Communities In The Bio-Energy Sector

The goal of the legislation is to preclude the former from happening, contributing to the protection of local communities. The challenge in trade and investment may evince in the difficulties for farmers in developing countries to stay competitive on the market without the latest technology. To manage the inequalities in this matter and to achieving balanced trade, a proper amount of regulatory incentives and subsidies has to be applied to the bio-energy sector. Moreover, food security is an important issue to take into account for developing countries. The goal of regulations is that the competition between the use of land and irrigation for energy does not lead to such price rise, which would cause food scarcity.

Bio-Energy Regulations According To The UN

According to the UN, regulations for bio-energy production recalling the mentioned spheres natural resource management, social issues, trade, and investment, should cover the following topics: ownership of land and water, approved tenure and use rights, management plans for the affected terrains, social impact planning, air, ground, water pollution measures, protected species and areas, worker rights, protection of communities, import and export laws, price regulations, tax and fee laws, processing and transportation regulations.

Bio-Energy And Its Regulatory Framework In Brazil:  Biofuel Regulations

Brazil as the leader in biofuels production has a complex legislative system considering in this field. First, the responsibility was at the federal level, later with the rising political involvement it has shifted to state and municipal levels. There are numerous important federal laws tied with bio-energy, but the most notable is recorded in the National Energy Policy. Playing a big role in Brazil’s bio-energy production, bioethanol is under many legislations.

Biofuel Regulations: Bioethanol Industry In Brazil

It is obtained from sugarcane and given the seasonal nature of this crop, there is a risk of price instability and scarcity between harvests. The production was centralized in Sao Paulo, which unfortunately led to regional inequalities. As a more environmentally friendly fuel, its blending requirement in gasoline is equal to 25 percent. The bioethanol industry is as well associated with tax differentials on fuels and sales. Another biofuel highly produced in Brazil is biodiesel.

Initiatives To Increase The Domestic Production Of Biodiesel

The Programme of Production and Use of Biodiesel (PNPB) was targeted to both increase domestic production of biodiesel and reduce socio-economic inequalities between regions, to not make the same mistakes as with bioethanol. The main idea of PNPB was to create a decentralized production network. The program set also the minimum blend requirement for biodiesel at 4 percent.

Regulations Regarding Biofuel: Biodiesel

Laws for reduction of tax on biodiesel import and production were introduced. Biofuels use and production also are influenced by the environmental and agricultural legislations. They are aimed at the sustainability of crops, reduction of carbon dioxide emission, and prevention of deforestation through ecological-economic zoning regulations.

The Biofuel Regulations In Other Countries

In South America, other countries have started to follow the example of Brazil, which has the last three decades of experience in bioethanol production. Other countries on this continent have taken legislative initiatives related to biofuels.

European Union Dominating The Bio-Energy Sector

Next up, the European Union is also dominating the bio-energy market. As the use of bio-energy is one of the EU’s intermediaries to achieve the goal of no net emission of greenhouse gases in 2050 stated in the European Green Deal. The use of bio-energy is rather encouraged and enforced in the EU. The main renewable production factor in the EU is biomass.

Obtaining Biomass In The EU And The Non-Binding Regulatory Recommendations

It is obtained from various sources. Namely from agriculture, different crops are the origin of biomass, also forestry, fisheries, and aquaculture, algae are the main sources of biomass. The European Commission (EC) presented only non-binding recommendations for energy installations of at least 1MW thermal heat or electrical power, which state that the use of biomass from land converted from forest, other high carbon stock areas, and highly biodiverse areas is forbidden.

EU And Its Bio-Energy Regulatory Framework Regarding Biofuel Production

The EU as well imposed rules on biofuel production to prevent indirect land-use change, which means the displacement of food or feed crops. Article of the EC introduced a partial or total tax exemption for biofuels. The EU policy is creating even more incentives to boost consumption and trade, regulating only symptoms of global biodiversity loss.

The EU cultivates the expansion of land and water footprint, prompting more trade to secure imports of cheap biomass, especially in wood. On the flip side of the coin, only promoting bio-energy without proper regulations has an increasingly negative impact on land use, climate, biodiversity, food security, and water for the countries in the global South, being the main exporters of the EU.

Bio-Energy Needs A Complex Regulatory Framework

To conclude there are many aspects associated with bio-energy and they all have to be taken into consideration for creating a proper regulatory framework. Although it may seem like bio-energy is a solution to many environmental challenges, it also may be devastating itself, in case of exploitation. Internationally it is still a topic up to debate with adjustment to be made on the way of development. The convergence with agriculture and other sectors is inevitable and requires a linked approach.

Across the world, the main discourse lies between the opinion of developed and developing countries. It has to be examined whether the importers are not demanding too much and as a result not taking advantage of their exporters. It raises the question of it is only a lack of realization of the negative implications by wealthier countries or an intended cover-up of exploiting other countries resources to buy cheaper biomass

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Emilia Curylo
Emilia Curylo
Having expertise in the field of Economics and IT applications, as well as Water Safety, Emilia has a rich background and writing capabilities. She mostly enjoy writing about technological advancements in Fintech and Biotech.


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