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The Role of Bioenergy in Ireland’s Low Carbon Future – is it Sustainable?

Journal of Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems
Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 196-216
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13044/j.sdewes.2015.03.0016
Alessandro Chiodi1 , Paul Deane1, Maurizio Gargiulo2, Brian Ó Gallachóir1
1 Environment Research Institute, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland (Republic)
2 E4SMA S.r.l., Torino, Italy

This paper assesses through scenario analysis the future role of bioenergy in a deep mitigation context. We focus in particular on the implications for sustainability – namely, competing demands for land-use, import dependency, availability of sustainable bioenergy and economics. The analysis here is limited to one Member State, Ireland, which is an interesting case study for a number of reasons, including significant import dependency and recent acceleration in renewable energy deployment. We used the Irish TIMES model, the energy systems model for Ireland developed with the TIMES model generator, for this scenario analysis. Long term, least cost mitigation scenarios point to bioenergy meeting more than half of Ireland’s energy needs by 2050. The results of this paper point to the impact of tightened sustainability criteria and limitation on bioenergy imports, namely the increased use of indigenous bioenergy feedstocks, increased electrification in the energy system, the introduction of hydrogen and higher marginal abatement costs.

Keywords: Bioenergy, Sustainability, Emissions mitigation, Climate policy, Energy systems modelling, MARKAL-TIMES.

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