Drivers, barriers and strategies for bioenergy dissemination in EU rural cross-border regions : a case study of the border region between Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic

Meyer, Maria (2015) Drivers, barriers and strategies for bioenergy dissemination in EU rural cross-border regions : a case study of the border region between Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.


A growing global energy demand resulting from an ever increasing world population and scale of economic activity poses one of the world’s main challenges for the future. The con-sequences of this rise in population and economic development include, among others, ‘excessive’ fossil fuel energy consumption and increasing greenhouse gas emissions. The use of renewable energy sources (RES) can help to mitigate this pressure on energy demand. In connection with this, the European Union`s climate policy strategy, in tandem with a reduction in greenhouse gases (GHGs), presses for the development of renewable energy. The generation of renewable energy, in particular biomass, contributes to economic development through the creation of employment opportunities. In particular, rural regions with limited development opportunities can benefit from renewable energy production and dissemination. European rural border regions are disadvantaged primarily because of their location, poor infrastructure and smaller populations. Border regions with a significant division of agricultural land and forest, however, can benefit from the increase of biomass and bioenergy generation. There are, nevertheless, many barriers associated with bioenergy development in general, and in cross-border regions in particular. Despite the fact that they are a unique category and require special consideration there is almost an academic void in respect of research focusing on renewable energy linked to border regions.

This research addresses the following key aspects: the crucial factors required for bioenergy dissemination and the special characteristics of European border regions, and analyzes stakeholders´ perceptions along the bioenergy supply chain. Using the two-phase design inspired by Barton and Lazarsfeld (1984) in a mixed research design, semi-structured expert interviews and online/offline surveys were conducted with stakeholders based in the border regions between Poland, the Czech Republic and Germany, with their opinions measured using a Likert scale questionnaire. Both strands of data collection delivered similar perceptions, especially in the case of the stakeholders' motivation for biomass use and bioenergy generation, in addition to differing assessments regarding the barriers for the growing of bio-mass, and bioenergy generation – mainly prompted by the diverse economic and legal environments in each country. Among other findings, the study identified the fact that current market barriers resulting mostly from different financial incentives could be reduced if, at a European level, the various financial incentives were harmonized. In addition, common sus-tainable standards for bioenergy generation are required, in order to support the sustainable use of biomass and bioenergy generation. Moreover, the intensification of the transfer of knowledge and communication between cross-border parties, with the support of regional energy agencies, seems to be necessary, in order to improve knowledge of market opportu-nities across border regions, and hence reduce the transaction costs in relation to bioenergy cooperation.

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