Best practices for assessing biomass resource potentials – Community of Practice session 1

Here, our Energy Working Group reports from the first session of a four-part Community of Practice series, ‘Bioelectricity resource potentials in member countries’. Read more about the benefits of biomass resources for electricity generation in Latin America and the Caribbean here, along with background information on the newly launched Community of Practice.

Bioelectricity reduces generation costs and is a low emission and climate compatible alternative to fossil fuels. Bioenergy systems utilize by-products of other economic processes and as a result, carefully designed bioenergy systems can be integrated harmoniously, and indeed beneficially, with other productive economic activities. The energy potential of these systems in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is tremendous but much of this potential remains largely unmet in many LAC countries, where public and private bioenergy investments lack appropriate enabling legal frameworks, supportive policies and regulations, and transparent and uncomplicated administrative processes.

The LEDS GP Community of Practice, from our Regional Platform for Latin America and the Caribbean (LEDS LAC) and Energy Working Group, brings together LAC government leaders in charge of the design and implementation of bioelectricity policies and programs, and provides tools for gathering and processing bioelectricity data as an input for smart decision-making.

The first module of the session was led by Anelia Milbrandt, Senior Energy Resources Analyst at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Anelia described specific indicators, data and processing needs relevant for resource mapping for a variety of biomass feedstocks. Afterwards, Anelia presented the Biopower Atlas, a sophisticated and extensively used biomass resource assessment tool that covers areas such as biopower generation and capacity potential, existing policies and incentives to support biopower in a given region, existing infrastructure, and competition for resources.

The second module of the session was led by group member Alejandro Roblero, Chief Executive Officer at the Center for Sustainable Markets Intelligence (CIMS) in Costa Rica. Alejandro presented the case study of Costa Rica’s Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) policy for biomass residues. Alejandro detailed how the country identified priority sectors for biomass feedstock exploitation by conducting a study on available biomass resource potentials.

This study, named the Organic Agricultural Waste Generation (OAW) initiative, identified pineapple, rice, sugar, and livestock residues as priority sectors for a number of factors including their GHG mitigation and energetic potential as well as their market-compatible scalability.

These presentations were followed by an open discussion period where group members shared brief presentations on the current situations for member states in regards to bioelectricity feedstock resource analysis. Shared challenges and priorities were identified as focus areas for working groups within the Community of Practice and are helping direct content for subsequent sessions.

Alfredo Curbelo, Director CUBAENERGIA, Ministry of Science, Technology, and the Environment said this of the session: “After attending the web seminar on bioenergy resource assessment, I would like to share some comments.

“The concept of the seminar sharing practical experiences among participants was very useful. It will help us find solutions to difficulties that we face developing our projects. The presentation by Anelia of tools developed by NREL for bioenergy assessment was exciting. Learning more about and gaining access to tools like the BioPower Atlas has been a dream for us. We have some previous experiences developing a database on bioenergy resources using municipalities as aggregation level. A similar database has been developed in Brasil producing the Bioenergy Atlas of Brazil. After the seminar, we are considering to evaluate the option to develop a GIS tool for assessment of bioenergy potential in the scope of a GEF project that is implemented in Cuba.

“Please keep on this track!”

Read more about the benefits of biomass resources for electricity generation in Latin America and the Caribbean here.

If you want to know more, please get in touch with our Energy Working Group or LEDS LAC team.



Photo: Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)