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Greening China's rural energy : new insights on the potential of smallholder biogas

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  • Christiaensen, Luc
  • Heltberg, Rasmus

Abstract

Clean, safe energy for rural areas is an important component of green growth and sustainable development. Biogas could be an important contributor, if its record in reality lives up to its expected potential. This paper provides a preliminary assessment of biogas use by smallholder farmers in rural China, using data collected from 2,700 households in five provinces. The authors find that user satisfaction is high, and environmental and economic benefits appear tangible. There are strong indications of reduced use of wood and crop residues for fuel. Less time is spent on collecting fuel wood and cooking, which is especially beneficial to women. Adopters also save on fertilizers, because of the use of biogas residues. Moreover, problems with suspension of biogas use, whether due to technical or human factors, remained limited. However, few tangible benefits to respiratory health were detected. Overall, these findings are grounds for optimism about the potential for of smallholder biogas to contribute to more sustainable development, in China and beyond.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 6102.

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Date of creation: 01 Jun 2012
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6102

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Keywords: Energy Production and Transportation; Climate Change Mitigation and Green House Gases; Renewable Energy; Engineering; Energy and Environment;

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  1. Cooke, Priscilla & Köhlin, Gunnar & Hyde, William F., 2008. "Fuelwood, forests and community management – evidence from household studies," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(01), pages 103-135, February.
  2. Zhang, Xiaobo & Yang, Jin & Wang, Shenglin, 2010. "China has reached the lewis turning point," IFPRI discussion papers 977, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  3. Rasmus Heltberg & Thomas Channing Arndt & Nagothu Udaya Sekhar, 2000. "Fuelwood Consumption and Forest Degradation: A Household Model for Domestic Energy Substitution in Rural India," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 76(2), pages 213-232.
  4. Heltberg, Rasmus, 2004. "Fuel switching: evidence from eight developing countries," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 869-887, September.
  5. Kohlin, Gunnar & Sills, Erin O. & Pattanayak, Subhrendu K. & Wilfong, Christopher, 2011. "Energy, gender and development: what are the linkages ? where is the evidence ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5800, The World Bank.
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