Italian import flows of woody biomasses for energy use: a sustainable supply?
New Medit, vol 13, n.2, (June 2014), pp. 56-64
Jel classification: F14, L73, Q42
Despite the inaccuracy of the official estimates, it is commonly recognised that wood biomasses play a relevant role in the Italian renewable energy production. Moreover, the Italian dependence on the international biomass market has significantly increased over the time. This trend seems to be the antithesis of the “short value chain” objective that is a leitmotif of renewable energy and rural development domestic policies. Starting from this evidence, Italian import flows of woody biomasses for energy use were analyzed over the period 1991-2011 both in quantitative and economic terms. Then, the environmental impacts of these flows have been estimated by means of a Life-Cycle Analysis to determine whether, and to what extent, the increased transport distance reduces the environmental sustainability of these materials with respect to conventional fossil fuels. Some policy considerations concerning the opportunity of further developing local supply chains are finally provided.
biomass, imports, fuel wood, wood residues, Italy, LCA