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Diffusion of bioenergy in urban areas: socio-economic analysis of the planned Swiss wood-fired cogeneration plant in Basel

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  • Reinhard Madlener

    () (Center for Energy Policy and Economics CEPE, Department of Management, Technology and Economics, ETH Zurich, Switzerland)

  • Stefan Vögtli

    () (waldmarketing.ch, Höhenweg 6, 4419 Lupsingen, Switzerland)

Abstract

The municipal utilities of Basel (IWB) are in the process of building a 30 MW wood-fired CHP plant in the city of Basel, a project idea that was initially propelled by visionaries from the forest sector. The plant is attractive both politically and from a business perspective, as several goals related to the increased use of renewable energy can be achieved simultaneously. Moreover, significant woody biomass resources are awaiting further exploitation in the Basel region, which could help to improve markedly the cost effectiveness of forest maintenance. In this paper we study the history and some of the characteristics of the planned project from a socio-economic perspective. Of particular interest to our study is the early involvement of a large number of stakeholders with different interests. The project constitutes a pioneering project that could serve as an important non-Scandinavian model for similar projects in other parts of Switzerland, but also in Western and Central Europe as a whole. The lengthy decision-making and planning process offers interesting insights into the socio-economic drivers and barriers of large-scale bioenergy projects in urban settings, where wood heating systems are in general not as well established as in the countryside. We find that the interest of regional forest owners to tackle the problem of over-aged and largely unprofitable forests, coupled with a political climate that (1) favours green energy projects and (2) provides incentives for the municipal utility to produce more green energy from sources other than hydropower, have been the two main success factors for developing this particular biomass plant project.

Suggested Citation

  • Reinhard Madlener & Stefan Vögtli, 2006. "Diffusion of bioenergy in urban areas: socio-economic analysis of the planned Swiss wood-fired cogeneration plant in Basel," CEPE Working paper series 06-53, CEPE Center for Energy Policy and Economics, ETH Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:cee:wpcepe:06-53
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    File URL: http://www.cepe.ethz.ch/publications/workingPapers/CEPE_WP53.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Silvia Banfi & Massimo Filippini & Andrea Horehájová, 2007. "Hedonic Price Functions for Zurich and Lugano with Special Focus on Electrosmog," CEPE Working paper series 07-57, CEPE Center for Energy Policy and Economics, ETH Zurich.
    2. Silvia Banfi & Massimo Filippini & Andrea Horehájová, 2012. "Using a choice experiment to estimate the benefits of a reduction of externalities in urban areas with special focus on electrosmog," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(3), pages 387-397, January.
    3. Kraxner, F. & Aoki, K. & Kindermann, G. & Leduc, S. & Albrecht, F. & Liu, J. & Yamagata, Y., 2016. "Bioenergy and the city – What can urban forests contribute?," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 165(C), pages 990-1003.

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