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The impact of German biogas production on European and global agricultural markets, land use and the environment


  • Britz, Wolfgang
  • Delzeit, Ruth


As part of its climate policy, Germany promotes the production of biogas via its so-called Renewable-Energy-Act (EEG). The resulting boost in biogas output went along with a significant increase in production of green maize, the dominant feedstock. Existing studies of the EEG have analysed its impacts on German agriculture without considering market feedback. We thus expand existing quantitative analysis by also considering impacts on European and global agricultural markets, land use and the environment by combining a detailed location model for biogas plants, the Regionalised Location Information System-Maize (ReSi-M2012), with a global Partial Equilibrium model for agriculture, the Common Agricultural Policy Regional Impact (CAPRI) model. Our results indicate that the German biogas production is large enough to have sizeable impacts on global agricultural markets in prices and quantities, causing significant land use change outside of Germany. While profits in the agricultural sector increase, food consumer face higher prices, and subsidies for biogas production are passed on to electricity consumers. The German biogas program, as long as it is almost entirely based on non-waste feedstocks, is probably not a promising avenue towards a GHG-saving renewable energy production, but a rather expensive one.

Suggested Citation

  • Britz, Wolfgang & Delzeit, Ruth, 2013. "The impact of German biogas production on European and global agricultural markets, land use and the environment," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 1268-1275.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:62:y:2013:i:c:p:1268-1275
    DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2013.06.123

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Delzeit, Ruth & Britz, Wolfgang & Holm-Müller, Karin, 2011. "Modelling regional input markets with numerous processing plants: The case of green maize for biogas production in Germany," Discussion Papers 162892, University of Bonn, Institute for Food and Resource Economics.
    2. Delzeit, Ruth & Britz, Wolfgang & Kreins, Peter, 2012. "An economic assessment of biogas production and land use under the German renewable energy source act," Kiel Working Papers 1767 [rev.], Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    3. Ruth Delzeit & Karin Holm-Müller & Wolfgang Britz, 2012. "Ökonomische Bewertung des Erneuerbare Energien Gesetzes zur Förderung von Biogas," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 13(3), pages 251-265, August.
    4. Martin Banse & Hans van Meijl & Andrzej Tabeau & Geert Woltjer, 2008. "Will EU biofuel policies affect global agricultural markets?," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 35(2), pages 117-141, June.
    5. Britz, Wolfgang, 2008. "Automated model linkages: the example of CAPRI," German Journal of Agricultural Economics, Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin, Department for Agricultural Economics, vol. 0(Number 8), pages 1-5.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bartoli, A. & Cavicchioli, D. & Kremmydas, D. & Rozakis, S. & Olper, A., 2016. "The impact of different energy policy options on feedstock price and land demand for maize silage: The case of biogas in Lombardy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 351-363.
    2. repec:gam:jeners:v:9:y:2016:i:2:p:92:d:63323 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:eee:appene:v:221:y:2018:i:c:p:308-318 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Finger, Robert & Möhring, Niklas & Dalhaus, Tobias & Böcker, Thomas, 2017. "Revisiting Pesticide Taxation Schemes," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 263-266.
    5. Fabio Bartolini & Luciana G. Angelini & Gianluca Brunori & Oriana Gava, 2015. "Impacts of the CAP 2014–2020 on the Agroenergy Sector in Tuscany, Italy," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(2), pages 1-22, February.
    6. Carsten Herbes & Lorenz Braun & Dennis Rube, 2016. "Pricing of Biomethane Products Targeted at Private Households in Germany—Product Attributes and Providers’ Pricing Strategies," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(4), pages 1-15, March.
    7. Markard, Jochen & Wirth, Steffen & Truffer, Bernhard, 2016. "Institutional dynamics and technology legitimacy – A framework and a case study on biogas technology," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 330-344.
    8. Röder, Mirjam, 2016. "More than food or fuel. Stakeholder perceptions of anaerobic digestion and land use; a case study from the United Kingdom," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 73-81.
    9. Haddad, Salwa & Britz, Wolfgang & Börner, Jan, 2017. "Impacts Of Increased Forest Biomass Demand In The European Bioeconomy," 57th Annual Conference, Weihenstephan, Germany, September 13-15, 2017 261986, German Association of Agricultural Economists (GEWISOLA).
    10. Andreas Meyer-Aurich & Yulia Lochmann & Hilde Klauss & Annette Prochnow, 2016. "Comparative Advantage of Maize- and Grass-Silage Based Feedstock for Biogas Production with Respect to Greenhouse Gas Mitigation," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(7), pages 1-14, June.
    11. Fabio De Menna & Remo Alessio Malagnino & Matteo Vittuari & Giovanni Molari & Giovanna Seddaiu & Paola A. Deligios & Stefania Solinas & Luigi Ledda, 2016. "Potential Biogas Production from Artichoke Byproducts in Sardinia, Italy," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(2), pages 1-11, February.
    12. repec:gam:jeners:v:9:y:2016:i:4:p:252:d:66797 is not listed on IDEAS

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    Biogas; Land use; Policy analysis;


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