Power generation from biomass is a sustainable energy technology which can contribute to substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, but with greater potential for environmental, economic and social impacts than most other renewable energy technologies. It is important therefore in assessing bioenergy systems to take account of not only technical, but also environmental, economic and social parameters on a common basis. This work addresses the challenge of analysing, quantifying and comparing these factors for bioenergy power generation systems. A life-cycle approach is used to analyse the technical, environmental, economic and social impacts of entire bioelectricity systems, with a number of life-cycle indicators as outputs to facilitate cross-comparison. The results show that similar greenhouse gas savings are achieved with the wide variety of technologies and scales studied, but land-use efficiency of greenhouse gas savings and specific airborne emissions varied substantially. Also, while specific investment costs and electricity costs vary substantially from one system to another the number of jobs created per unit of electricity delivered remains roughly constant. Recorded views of stakeholders illustrate that diverging priorities exist for different stakeholder groups and this will influence appropriate choice of bioenergy systems for different applications.
Thornley, P., Upham, P., Huang, Y., Rezvani, S., Brammer, J., & Rogers, J. (2009). Integrated assessment of bioelectricity technology options. Energy Policy, 37(3), 890-903. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2008.10.032