Potentials and Opportunities of Bioenergy based on Agriculture Residues in South-East Asia

According to IRENA’s World Energy Transitions Outlook 2022, bioenergy plays an important role in the energy transition to achieving the 1.5°C degrees Celsius temperature climate goal, which requires accelerated deployment of renewables across all energy end-use and supply sectors. Bioenergy can help accelerate the decarbonisation of all end uses, including heating and cooking, industry and transport. In addition, bioenergy can also replace fossil fuels and provide feedstock for industry. Bioenergy combined with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) may deliver negative emissions that are needed to achieve the net-zero target. In IRENA’s 1.5-degree scenario, 153 EJ of biomass of primary supply per annum will be needed by 2050, which is triple today’s use.

This expansion can be achieved with policies that promote wider use of biomass sources, coupled with strong, evidence-based sustainability procedures and regulations. Such regulations must be carefully designed to promote sustainability and maximise the investment that tackles adverse outcomes. Under this perspective, it is compulsory to better understand bioenergy needs based on the local, country and regional basis and a set of best practices and policies to promote its utilisation. Developing a comprehensive and integrated policy framework that addresses the most significant barriers to deployment and investment is also necessary. These include clear and long-term targets and strategies, financial and fiscal incentives, mandates and obligations, support to research, development and demonstration (RD&D), commercialisation and infrastructures, skills development and training, measures to provide reliable information and raise public awareness, as well as sustainability governance supported by regulations and certifications.

Under these premises, expanding the bioenergy industry in Southeast Asia is highly desirable. A dialogue process in a workshop with key stakeholders from the region can stimulate policy signals for bioenergy that can guide investments, enable industry development and improve sustainability. IRENA has commissioned a study to assess agricultural residue potential in the region and to identify barriers, best practices, and strategies to scale up the industry. The study drew lessons from bioenergy leaders and applies them to country clusters with good potential to develop the bioenergy sector but whose industries and policy frameworks are still not well developed.

This workshop aimed to consult relevant decision-makers, key stakeholders and leading bioenergy experts in major bioenergy-producing countries in South-east Asia on potentials and opportunities. The online event provided a platform for actors from industry, governments and institutes to exchange information and provide feedback to IRENA. It also helped to evaluate and prioritise major bioenergy production pathways, assess the region-specific challenges and barriers related to sustainability and deployment. During the workshop participants discussed adequate policies and measures tailored to the Latin American context, and shared best practices, financial mechanisms, policies and strategies that supported the investment and deployment of bioenergy.

This was a closed event by invitation only. Invitations can be requested by e-mailing wsanchez@irena.org.