Energy Crops: Stakeholder Identification and Analysis - A Case of Belarus
Abstract: Belarus is subject to serious energy security issues due to limited domestic energy resources; a low diversity in the national energy profile, significant depreciation of capital assets in the Belarusian energy system, a high share of energy resources import, and a dominating dependence on one energy importer The Russian Federation. In response to these issues the country is very interested in diversifying its energy profile, development of non-conventional renewable energy types and increasing the share of local energy resources. Introduction of short rotation willow crops is one strategy under examination. When willow is grown for energy purposes, it has the potential not only to contribute to the energy security enhancement, but also yield co-benefits in economic, environmental and social terms. Currently energy crops based energy is in the stage of early development. Development of this energy option depends on a range of stakeholders, as well as economic and legislative settings. This work involves the identification of stakeholders in relation to short rotation willow crops (on any stage of their life cycle including cultivation and utilization of biomass), and then their interviewing in order to depict their interests, perception of other stakeholders, and existing coordination between them. All stakeholders identified are analyzed then in terms of attributes of power, legitimacy and urgency for defining those stakeholders that influence the development of short rotation willow crops most. The research reveals the general interest in the development of this energy option on the side of the national government, but low current interest on the side of most stakeholders. Moreover, there is a weak interaction between stakeholders, a factor that is held in this work to be mainly attributed to limited knowledge and experience on this technology. However, the current economic and legislative settings do contain tools for stimulation of renewable energy development, inclusive of energy crops. Such items include reduced environmental tax and indexed tariffs for bioenergy that will provide financial incentives and the coming law on nonconventional and renewable energy that will provide for stimulation tools for renewable energy.
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