Prepared by the Energy Programme
Environment and Natural Resources Service (SDRN), Research, Extension and Training Division
Energy is an engine for development of Mankind. Energy services are vital to keep economic sectors and residential activities running. Existing energy systems however, are often a source of environmental problems. For the less developed layers of society, access to clean and affordable energy is essential for poverty alleviation through the supply of heat, light and power as well as a host of other benefits such as the generation of income, development of rural infrastructures and the improvement of urban and rural health.
Bioenergy in general and wood energy in particular are the dominant sources of energy for about half of the world’s population who are the poorest of the poor, and who use this energy mainly for cooking. They have very limited access to other forms of energy such as electricity or liquid fuels.
Much of the presently used bioenergy originates from various types of agricultural and forestry residues, however, increasingly, different kinds of energy crops and plantations are expected to provide the bulk of her biomass for energy production.
The potential role of bioenergy has been addressed more seriously in the last decade when global concerns related to energy prices, environmental degradation, privatization of the energy sector and the sustainability of current energy systems started to arise.
Recently, awareness of the need to mitigate climate change has renewed the attention on bioenergy in both developing and industrialized countries as an environmentally friendly, cost-effective and locally available source of energy. Thus, bioenergy has emerged as a key factor in both developmental and environmental terms.
Recognizing the substantial role of bioenergy in the energy balance of the twenty-first century means understanding its significant impact on agriculture and rural development.
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