Sustainable Bioenergy Pathways in South America: Fostering investment and sustainability in the bioenergy sector

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) promotes the widespread adoption and sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy, including bioenergy, geothermal, hydropower, ocean, solar and wind energy, in the pursuit of sustainable development, energy access, energy security and low-carbon economic growth and prosperity. According to IRENA’s World Energy Transitions Outlook 2022, bioenergy plays an important role in the energy transition to achieving the 1.5°C 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.

Comprehensive policy measures are needed to address barriers, ensure sustainability and scale up the deployment of bioenergy. As highlighted in the report Bioenergy for the Energy Transition: Ensuring Sustainability and Overcoming Barriers, energy policy needs to closely interact with other sectoral policies such as agriculture, forest and waste management. Therefore, there is a need to find ways to scale up sustainable biomass supply by fostering investment and ensuring the sustainability of the feedstock and production.

Actions and policies are urgently needed to promote dialogue, information sharing and knowledge exchange to stimulate investment and scale up deployment of sustainable biomass. To this purpose, it is necessary to inform key stakeholders of the best practices and policies that promote investment in bioenergy applications. Providing a solid basis for the bioenergy sector making investment decisions toward the scaling up of bioenergy technologies, fomenting its development and deployment in line with the sustainable, economic and technical potentials. Raising awareness of the significant contribution of bioenergy activities to decarbonising the economy and generating co-benefits through accelerated deployment of modern bioenergy is also relevant from a circular economy perspective.

South America is one of the most important regions for bioenergy production and consumption. Under these premises, improving the industry of bioenergy in the South American region is highly desirable. A dialogue process in a workshop with key stakeholders from the region can stimulate long-term policy signals for bioenergy that can guide investments, enable industry development and improve sustainability.

This workshop aimed to bring together relevant decision-makers, key stakeholders and leading bioenergy experts in major bioenergy-producing countries of the South American region. It provided a platform for actors from industry, governments and institutes to evaluate major technology pathways and opportunities for bioenergy deployment, assess the challenges and barriers related to sustainability and deployment, discuss policies and measures specialised for the South American context, exchange knowledge and share best practices concerning the innovative technologies, financial mechanism and strategies that to support the investment and deployment of sustainably-sourced bioenergy.

The targeted audience were major stakeholders related to the bioenergy industry in South America, especially major producing countries. The workshop was aimed at participants from regional organisations, government institutions, bioenergy associations, industry chambers and sector experts interested in the bioenergy industry in South America. The event took place in a hybrid format with a virtual session in the morning with open participation and a closed working sessions with in-person participants in Sao Paulo.

This workshop was by invitation only.